Arsenal’s summer transfer business has been impressive so far with the eye-catching addition of Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon and there are likely to be plenty more deals concluded before the start of the new season. Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez is thought to be one of the Gunner’s top transfer targets, but in the last few weeks, the Algerian winger has seemingly fallen down the pecking order.
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Since playing a starring role in Leicester’s title-winning season, Riyad Mahrez has been linked with a big-money move to a number of top European clubs. Arsenal have been one of the sides to have expressed an interest in signing the Algerian talent but recent reports suggest they have turned their attentions elsewhere. Monaco’s Thomas Lemar is believed to be Arsene Wenger’s priority with the 26-year-old reportedly keen on a move to North London. The Gunners have already had a bid rejected for the winger and are set to increase their offer in the coming weeks. If he leaves the Ligue 1 champions, Lemar would become the most expensive signing in the club’s history.
Mahrez had a mixed season at Leicester last year, netting just ten times in all competitions and failing to impress during the early stages of the campaign. Twelve months previous, he found the net 18 times as the Foxes unexpectedly clinched the Premier League title. He also has experience in the UEFA Champions League, having helped his side progress beyond the knock-out stage before falling at the hands of Atletico Madrid.
The 2016 PFA player of the year’s attitude has been called into question by boss Craig Shakespeare, who admitted the wide man could be frozen out if he doesn’t show professionalism during the pre-season campaign. He has publicly stated his desire for a new challenge next season and champions Chelsea have also been showing interest in the Foxes star-man.
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Arsenal have already sealed a move for Senad Kolasinac, with the Bosnian left-back joining the North London club on a free from Schalke earlier this summer. Lacazette’s addition will have Arsenal fans confident ahead of the new campaign as they aim to put a disappointing fifth-place finish behind them. The Gunners are priced at 11/1 in the Premier League betting to clinch their first title since the 2003-04 season, and can also be backed at evens to return to the top four after missing out for the first time in twenty years.
If Mahrez does clinch a move to the Emirates, he would immediately face his former employers as Leicester start their campaign with a trip to North London on August 11th. Arsenal play their first competitive fixture against Chelsea in the Community Shield just six days earlier.
The Gunners still have plenty more transfer business to complete over the next couple of weeks and Riyad Mahrez could be pulling on the iconic red jersey come August, but he may have to be patient. Arsene Wenger is looking to add more creativity to his side and the Algerian seems like the perfect fit – but his transfer is just one of many which appear to have stalled in recent weeks. If he can return to the kind of the form he showed two seasons ago, his signing could be key in helping Arsenal return to those sought-after top four positions in the Premier League.