The future of Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez is being speculated about after midfielder N’Kolo Kante was sold to Chelsea this summer, with reports suggesting a domino effect could occur at the King Power Stadium. Arsenal are one of many clubs being linked with Mahrez’s signature, with the Londoners having a spot in his favourite right-wing position up for grabs, and the Algerian international could be perfect to offer some symmetry to the Arsenal attack.
Riyad Mahez was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year last season, scoring 17 goals and making 11 assists as Leicester City won the Premier League title against all odds under manager Claudio Ranieri, and interest has come his way in its droves as a result. Mahrez made over 130 success dribbles, while creating nearly 70 chances in 37 league appearances, so it’s not hard to see why Arsenal have shown an interest.
The Gunners have a void in Mahrez’s preferred role ahead of the coming season, with no player having staked a claim to start on the right-wing. The Leicester man spent the season cutting inside onto his favoured left-foot and could be useful for Arsenal, as his movement would allow the likes of right-back Hector Bellerin to overlap him in attack. Alexis Sanchez provides a similar threat on the left flank, moves into central areas to get into scoring positions.
When Arsenal are in possession, the likes of Sanchez and Mahrez would occupy a wide starting position to keep the defence stretched, before coming inside when the midfield start probing for movement. The space left due to the inside runs means the fullbacks can overlap out wide, and Mahrez being in the team would mean another prolific goalscorer and creator. Sanchez, Mahrez and Giroud as a trio should see Arsenal score more than the paltry 65 goals last season.
The likes of Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Campbell have failed to hold down a starting place on the right, and with manager Arsene Wenger desperate for a trophy haul in potentially his last season at the club, he could well spend big on getting Mahrez’s signature. Leicester don’t need to sell however, and are in a very strong position to convince their star players to stay.
Nevertheless, Arsenal have been regular finishers in the top-four of the Premier League for some time, and have more Champions League pedigree than Leicester which could see Mahrez considering a switch. There’s weeks left before the new Premier League season starts, but could the talent Algerian be in an Arsenal shirt by then?