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24 July 2017

Riyad Mahrez facing up to the prospect of starting new season with Leicester… unless Arsenal can cough up at least £50m

RIYAD MAHREZ’S hopes of leaving Leicester this summer are fading fast.

The want-away Algerian winger is rapidly running out of options as the club’s Thai owners prepare to dig their heels in over any deal.

Riyad Mahrez is seeing time run out to make an exit from Leicester this transfer window
Riyad Mahrez is seeing time run out to make an exit from Leicester this transfer window
Getty Images
Arsene Wenger will have to move fast if he is to secure Riyad Mahrez as his next new signing
Arsene Wenger will have to move fast if he is to secure Riyad Mahrez as his next new signing
AP:Associated Press

Unless Arsene Wenger coughs up the Foxes’ minimum £50million asking price, it seems inevitable Mahrez, 26, will be going nowhere for a second summer.

Monaco’s Thomas Lemar remains Arsenal’s first-choice wide option and Wenger will only turn to Mahrez once he has exhausted that possibility.

But the message from Leicester’s owners is not only do they not want to sell Mahrez, they are so wealthy they do not need to sell, either.

A King Power source said: “Mahrez’s problem is he has talked about a move to Arsenal for two summers now but on both occasions he has had three years remaining on his contract.

“Therefore he is in no position to dictate the next move or call the shots — all the power lies with the club.

“Leicester’s owners do not need the money so unless it’s a staggering deal and the kind of offer which would be stupid to turn down, why would they sell for less than £50m in this market?”

Craig Shakespeare has revealed there have been no firm bids for his wantaway winger Riyad Mahrez
Craig Shakespeare has revealed there have been no firm bids for his wantaway winger Riyad Mahrez
Getty Images
Riyad Mahrez penned an emotional letter addressed to the Leicester fans explaining why he needs to move on
Riyad Mahrez penned an emotional letter addressed to the Leicester fans explaining why he needs to move on
Getty Images


Serie A side Roma have bid £20m and are expected to return with a bigger offer of around £30m but the Foxes feel that is chicken feed.

SunSport understands Kyle Walker’s £50m move to Manchester City showed the Foxes’ billionaire father and son owners, Vichai and Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, just how much some clubs are prepared to pay to get what they want.

Last season the Gunners would have been able to sign Mahrez for £35m.

It could cost someone around £50million to prise Riyad Mahrez away from Leicester
It could cost someone around £50million to prise Riyad Mahrez away from Leicester
Getty Images

But Walker’s fee moved the goalposts as Leicester’s owners realised they were in the driving seat where their star was concerned.

He was voted England’s player of the year by his fellow pros in their shock title-winning campaign and finished seventh in the prestigious Ballon d’Or.

The source added: “Arsenal didn’t make a solitary bid for Mahrez last summer.

“Since then his value has doubled and so has his salary, but his form dipped last season.

“As for Roma, the serious money is in the Premier League, not Serie A.


Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare has had no firm bids for Riyad Mahrez

“That would be a backwards move and as Mahrez has a young child it’s unlikely he will want to move to Italy anyway.

“All the cards are in Leicester’s favour.

“When Liverpool can turn down £72m for Philippe Coutinho do you really think Mahrez will go for less than half of that figure — a year after he was voted the Player of the Year?”

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