The future of Leicester City playmaker Riyad Mahrez, 25, has been the subject of intense speculation this summer.
Sources in his native Algeria report that Arsenal are set to complete a £37m deal to bring one of English football’s most sought-after properties to north London.
The Footballer of the Year was a key player for the Foxes during their shock Premier League title win last season and was quick to re-affirm his loyalty to the East Midlands club amid the celebrations on the final day of their amazing campaign.
That position quickly reversed a few days later when he was more non-committal at a sponsor event in Paris.
Chelsea were interested in the mercurial winger and Adidas were found to be selling “Mahrez 7” shirts which were hastily withdrawn from their website.
Recent reports of Arsenal’s interest were downplayed by his agent who claimed a fortnight ago that no bid had been formally made by the Gunners. It is believed that was a play on words with talks ongoing between the two clubs.
Claudio Ranieri reinforced the view that he is losing the battle to keep his talismanic star when he observed after a friendly against Celtic earlier this month that Mahrez would be better served by staying at the King Power than sitting on the bench at a bigger club.
Whilst the Italian persuaded Jamie Vardy, 29, to reject Arsenal’s contract offer, N’Golo Kante, 25, moved to Chelsea in a £32m deal earlier in the summer. Losing Mahrez as well would rip the heart out of his side and be a difficult player to replace.
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