By Will Butcher
Arsene Wenger has refused to rule out an Arsenal move for Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez this summer.
Mahrez, 26, won the 2015-16 PFA player of the year for his efforts in Leicester’s remarkable Premier League-winning campaign, but has endured a difficult season this time around.
Speaking to beIN Sports, as quoted by Get French Football News, Wenger stated that the Gunners have not yet made a bid to sign Mahrez but could do during the summer window.
“We have not made a bid for him but personally I like the player yes,” Wenger said. “I think he had a huge impact at Leicester when they won the Championship.
“Like everybody at Leicester certainly a more difficult season this year but it doesn’t take anything away from his qualities.
“Have we made a bid for him? No. Not yet… No we have not. Not yet means it can happen it can not happen.”
Leicester’s number 26 had a hand in a huge 28 goals during his 39 appearances for the Foxes during 2015-16, as Claudio Ranieri inspired his former side to Premier League glory.
However, this time round, Mahrez has only managed to find the back of the net 10 times and lay on seven goals despite playing nine more matches.
The Algeria international was a part of the Leicester side that did defy the odds by reaching the last eight of the Champions League, as Craig Shakespeare revitalised Ranieri’s side.
Despite signing a contract at the King Power Stadium last summer which would keep him at Leicester until 2020, Arsenal could look to bring him to the Emirates as part of Wenger’s new-look side.
Football Insider verdict:
A proven Premier League performer, Mahrez would certainly bolster Wenger’s options out wide with the future of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in doubt. The performances of Theo Walcott are also a cause for concern, while Alex Iwobi remains largely inconsistent. Bringing Mahrez into the mix would give the Gunners a player with the knowledge of how to win a Premier League title next season, as Wenger looks to build on his side’s FA Cup triumph next season. Former Le Havre winger Mahrez is likely to be keen on a move to north London, as he would remain in European competition – albeit the Europa League.
In other Arsenal transfer news, Newcastle are monitoring the situation of this 27-year-old.