Friday 19 January 2018

Arsenal's £30m Riyad Mahrez offer 'rejected' by Leicester

Riyad Mahrez was an influential figure as Leicester won the Premier League title
Riyad Mahrez was an influential figure as Leicester won the Premier League title

Jack de Menezes

Arsenal have made an offer for Leicester City midfielder Riyad Mahrez, just days before the new season gets underway, but the reigning Premier League champions have rejected the bid and reiterated that he is not for sale.

According to French journalist Gilles Favard, a reporter for newspaper L’Equipe, Arsenal lodged a £30m offer with Leicester in an effort to sign last season’s PFA Player of the Year, having been criticised in recent weeks for failing to build on their early transfer business.

Having completed the signings of Granit Xhaka, Takuma Asano and Rob Holding, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger appeared to be bucking his cautious approach in the transfer market and going about his business earlier than usual. But the anew arrivals at the Emirates Stadium have dried up, and given that both Asano and Holding are viewed as players for the future, there is still a lack of signings that will impact this season.

Wenger has openly confirmed his intention of signing a new striker and defender, but progress has been slow after a number of reported failed bids. Yet reports in France suggest that Arsenal have resumed their interest in the Algeria international with an official offer less than a week before the start of the season.

It’s added that Leicester have already rejected the bid, believed to be a £30m offer, with the expectation being that the Gunners could make an improved offer before the end of the transfer window on 31 August. With Arsenal and Leicester due to face off in the second round of fixtures next weekend, 25-year-old Mahrez could face the possibility of playing against the north London side while they attempt to sign him.

Bookmakers dramatically cut odd of Mahrez joining Chelsea on Tuesday after pictures emerged of Mahrez checking into a west London hotel where the club’s squad are known to stay before matches. Furthermore, the Italian journalist who took the pictures, Alessandro Schiavone, claimed that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was also in attendance at the hotel, although did stress that he did not see the pair together.

Arsenal have already seen a move for Mahrez’s Leitcester teammate, Jamie Vardy, fail after the England striker turned down a transfer despite his release clause being activated, with the striker going on to sign a new four-year contract extension with the reigning Premier League champions.

Independent News Service

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