By Russell Edge
Arsene Wenger is looking to make a move for Leicester midfielder Riyad Mahrez and Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, according to a report.
The Sunday Express claim that the French manager is to remain as manager of the North London club, and that Mahrez is the club’s top summer target.
They also claim that Wenger wants a striker, a winger, a central defender, a left-back and a goalkeeper to rebuild his squad for next season.
Both Leicester and Middlesbrough reportedly rate their stars at £30m each, with both players likely to be looking for moves this summer.
As reported by the Telegraph, Mahrez has already expressed his desire to depart the King Power stadium, and has been linked with a move to the Gunners’ arch-rivals Tottenham.
Gibson meanwhile is likely to look for a move which keeps him in the Premier League, having suffered relegation with his current side.
It is said that Arsenal only rate Gibson as a £25million player though – £5million short of the Boro valuation.
However Boro boss Steve Agnew has refuted claims that Gibson’s departure is a certainty, as he was quoted by the Mirror as saying: “I don’t think it is inevitable.
“He is one of the group and is determined to stay with it and see Boro back into the Premier league.”
The 24-year-old signed a five year contract deal with Boro at the start of the season, meaning any suitors would have to pay a hefty price to pry him away from his hometown club.
Football Insider verdict:
Arsene Wenger obviously has big plans ahead of next season and it seems a certainty he will remain in charge of the Gunners. Both Mahrez and Gibson have proven themselves as Premier League quality players, and they are the sort of additions Arsenal need in order to improve on what has been a disappointing campaign. However neither will come cheap, with both Leicester and Middlesbrough unlikely to let their star men go without a fight. It is not just the selling teams the Gunners face a fight with – there is going to be an awful lot of interest in the duo this summer, and Wenger will do well if he manages to convince either of the pair to join him at the Emirates stadium.
In other Arsenal news, fans took to Twitter to herald the performance of this unsung hero in their win over Stoke.