Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted that he does hold an interest in Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez despite his lacklustre campaign last term.
The Algeria international had the world at his feet during the 2015/16 season as his 17 goals and 11 assists guided the Foxes to a maiden English title.Claudio Ranieri’s side therein lost a key player in the form of N’Golo Kante to Chelsea, and this sort of disintegrated their team last season – eventually leading to the sacking of the Italian coach.
Mahrez bagged an average tally of six goals and three assists in the season just ended, but this has not diminished interest from Wenger, who remains a firm admirer of his talents.
“We have not made a bid, but personally, I like the player, yes,” he told beIN Sports. “I think he made a huge impact when they won the championship.
“Like at everybody else at Leicester, this season has been more challenging, but it doesn’t take away from his qualities.
“Have we made a bid for him? No. Not yet. No, we have not. When I say ‘not yet’ it means it could happen. It might not happen.”
The Gunners failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in nearly two decades, but Wenger is not worried that it will have a huge impact on their transfer business for the summer.Mahrez has already expressed his desire to move on from the King Power Stadium with an open statement released last week, but the Foxes are nevertheless likely to play hardball over his valuation.Arsenal had approached the Foxes with a £35m bid for Mahrez last year, and they may have to come up with a similar fee in order to pursue the 2016 African Footballer of the Year.
Meanwhile, the Gunners are yet to resolve the contract situations of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who are both said to demand £300,000 a week deals to stay put at the Emirates.