Recent reports are stating Arsenal are going to rival Manchester City for Leicester City’s want away Algerian superstar Riyad Mahrez.
Mahrez was on Guardiola’s wish list after City missed out on Manchester United bound Alexis Sanchez. Having missed out on the Chilean, and Sane subsequently injured for up to 6 weeks, the City manager was keen on Mahrez to come in to help keep the dream of the quadruple alive. Much like Sanchez in the summer, City were punished for coming in far too late for him and will now face renewed competition for the Leicester City winger in the summer.
Arsenal have been linked with Mahrez in the past, with Wenger always being open about his admiration for the former Player of the Year. With Walcott, Giroud and Alexis leaving last week, scorers of 60 of Arsenal’s goals last season, Arsenal are lacking players capable of playing wide as an inside forward. As impressive as Mkhitaryan was on his home debut where he amazingly provide three assists, the comparisons being made after the game where with Cazorla, and not, the man he replaced, Alexis. On paper, despite the eye-catching arrival of Aubameyang, Arsenal are very light in the wide attacking role. Currently, the squad has Aubameyang and Lacazette as the two primary forwards and only Iwobi and Welbeck who can truly play wide, and even then, they are both being played out of position.
The priority for Arsenal will ultimately be further back the field, with a goalkeeper, a centreback and, perhaps, a centre midfielder the priority in what should be a very busy summer for the Gunners. But, if a player of proven Premier League quality in Mahrez becomes available, it would a no brainier for Arsenal to strengthen their forward line further if they are to truly ever aspire to win the Premier League again under Wenger.
One thing is for sure, Arsenal can afford Mahrez’s likely wage demands. He is reportedly on a £100,000 a week wage package at Leicester City and considering Ozil is now earning as much as £350,000 per week, Arsenal can afford to give Mahrez between £150,00-£200,000 per week.
Ultimately, there is no one in the Arsenal squad who is as good as Mahrez one on one with a defender, a player who really can produce match winning quality. The thought of him partnering up with the attacking talent already at Arsenal. Mahrez himself will relish signing for a team that plays possessive football like Arsenal.
The question is, how much Leicester will want for him and whether Arsenal will be able, or willing, to pay that amount. Leicester are likely to want at least £60m for him in the summer. And with so many players leaving in the January window, Arsenal are running out of players to sell to fund the lavish spending spree they need to truly be a top side again. But with the nature of the football they play, an attacking side that dominates the ball, signing a game changer like Mahrez, if he is attainable, must surely be at the top of their list.
Mahrez has won the Premier League already, and if Arsenal want to win it again, signing him should be a top priority.