The Algerian was instrumental in Leicester’s stunning title success last season, with a number of clubs expressing an interest in signing him in the summer.
However, Mahrez listened to former manager Claudio Ranieri’s plea to spend another season at the club, instead striking up a gentleman’s agreement that he would be allowed to leave at the end of the 2016/17 campaign.
And the Telegraph report that Mahrez is poised to tell the club that he is ready to quit after three-and-a-half seasons at the King Power, owing to his determination to continue playing European football.
Arsenal summer transfer targets
Arsenal summer transfer targets
1/11 Arsenal summer transfer targets
Which players might Arsenal attempt to sign this summer?
2/11 Sead Kolasinac, Schalke
The 23-year-old’s contract expires in June, meaning he’ll be available for free. Kolasinac can be deployed in various defensive positions, including at centre-back and as a defensive midfielder, but he has excelled at left-back for Schalke and would suit the wing-back role in a three-man defence, which Arsenal have recently deployed.
3/11 Alexandre Lacazette, Lyon
Last summer saw Arsenal attempt to sign Lacazette, only for Lyon to refuse to sell the “irreplaceable” striker. It is more widely expected that he will depart this summer, however, in a recent interview the player confirmed he will be looking to play Champions League football. If Arsenal make the cut, he could potentially be persuaded, but with other clubs circling it seems increasingly unlikely. Murmurs of a £60m price-tag will make him available to a select few clubs.
4/11 Arda Turan, Barcelona
It has been strongly rumoured that Arsenal will target the 30-year-old Turkish midfielder this summer. Turan has not had the desired impact at the Camp Nou, registering just three goals and assists in 18 league appearances this term. While this increases the likelihood that Barcelona will offload the playmaker, it also raises questions over whether Arsenal will risk bringing him in. £25m is the touted price, which is certainly within the club’s reach.
5/11 Pablo Fornals, Malaga
At just 21, central midfielder Pablo Fornals has impressed domestically with strugglers Malaga this season, so much so that he has already been handed his full debut for Spain by manager Julien Lopetegui. Santi Cazorla’s injury ravaged season has cast doubts over his future at Arsenal and at 32 years old, it would be sensible to find a replacement. Arsenal have struggled to identify a reliable midfield partnership since Cazorla’s season-ending injury and the pragmatic Fornals, at around £15m, is reported to be a prime target for the club to solve the issue.
6/11 Patrik Schick, Sampdoria
The 21-year-old Czech centre forward has made headlines recently after a series of impressive performances for his club and country. With 13 goals in 31 appearances in Serie A this season, he is not the most prolific of strikers but has proven his impressive technical ability and physical attributes. With Olivier Giroud rumoured to be nearing an exit, 6ft 2in Schick could be viewed as an ideal replacement. Chelsea and Tottenham are also rumoured to be interested, as well as a host of foreign clubs, and there is believed to be a £21 million release clause in the player’s contract, meaning the highly rated striker is affordable.
7/11 Ben Chilwell, Leicester
The 20 year-old left back is a realistic target for the Gunners, who are reportedly long term admirers of the player. Chilwell is capped by England at U18 level and would be an affordable and logical signing. First choice left back Nacho Monreal is now 31 and back up Kieran Gibbs has failed to assert himself at the top level. The potential of selling Gibbs, as well as other home-grown players, also means that Arsenal will need to sign another one to ensure they meet the FA’s regulations. His contract runs until 2021 and it is likely he would cost between £5-7m.
8/11 Rick Karsdorp, Feyenoord
Arsenal were said to be keen on a move for the young Dutch back in January until Arsene Wenger shut down the rumours. His words, however, were that although Karsdorp is a ‘good player’, Arsenal were not ‘in the transfer market’ in January. With the summer window beckoning, the club look sure to offload Carl Jenkinson and Mathieu Debuchy who have fallen far out of favour. Karsdorp, 22, recently signed an improved contract offer until 2021 - yet this could realistically mean little if Arsenal are serious about signing him.
9/11 Leon Goretzka, Schalke:
The 22-year-old German midfielder is the second Schalke midfielder on this list. When playing at VfL Bochum, Goretzka’s head coach Peter Neuruer described him as the “talent of the century”. He is a versatile player who is most comfortable deployed as a central midfielder but has played behind the striker and out wide in his time at Schalke. Sporting Director Christian Heidel recently confirmed that he has not yet held decisive talks with Goretzka amid doubts over his future, with just one season remaining on his contract. This situation means he could be snapped up for around £20m.
10/11 Virgil van Dijk, Southampton
With Per Mertesacker nearing the end of his Arsenal career and Arsenal continuing to leak goals this season, van Dijk will certainly come into consideration. The 25 year-old centre back is highly sought-after in the league and is a realistic target for anybody with money. With Arsenal’s Champions League future in serious doubt, it would be difficult to compete with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City for both financial and footballing reasons. Southampton are thought to want around £50m for the Dutchman.
11/11 Kylian Mbappe, Monaco
Mbappe is one of the hottest properties in Europe and is perhaps a surprise inclusion on the list. Robert Pires shocked supporters when he declared that he believes his former club ‘will sign’ the French starlet, coinciding with Wenger’s confession that Arsenal are interested in Mbappe. However, the financial muscle and prestige of other clubs will likely prove an issue. Reports that Real Madrid are preparing a bid of more than £80,000,000 will blow the likes of Arsenal out of the water. Don’t hold your breath on this one.
Arsenal were heavily linked with a move for the player last summer and went close to signing his team-mate, Jamie Vardy.
It seems likely Arsene Wenger will want to bolster his squad after an exceptionally underwhelming campaign, although it currently appears Arsenal will be unable to offer Mahrez the Champions League football that he craves.
Spurs are another option. Mauricio Pochettino is desperate to add a winger to his squad and the club were interested in a move for Wilfried Zaha until the Crystal Palace decided to represent the Ivory Coast.
Tottenham made an enquiry over Mahrez in the January transfer window, but were told at the time that he was not for sale at any price.
Chelsea could also make a move for Mahrez, who was named the PFA Players' Player of the Year last season. However the Telegraph report that their interest hinges on whether or not Willian is allowed to leave this summer.
Quite how much Leicester demand for the 26-year-old remains to be seen, with his performances notably poorer this season than in their unforgettable title-winning campaign.
This year he has managed just six goals in the Premier League and registered three assists, a drastic downturn from the season before, in which he scored 17 times and made 11 assists, as well as picking up ten Man of the Match awards.
But his performances in the Champions League did impress this season. He scored four times as Leicester reached the quarter-finals of the competition.
Leicester are currently in 9th-place in the league, with games against Tottenham and Bournemouth remaining.
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