Arsenal are reportedly now the favourites to land Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez, but the transfer fee involved in a potential swoop could be a shock to many supporters.
The 26-year-old confirmed with an official statement earlier this week that he wanted to quit the Foxes, just a year on from playing an integral role in arguably the greatest story in football history as they won the Premier League title against all the odds.
According to the Leicester Mercury, Arsenal are favourites to prise him away from the King Power Stadium now, with the bookmakers shortening odds on it happening.
It’s added that Leicester don’t want to sell the Algerian international, but ultimately they will probably have to rather than keeping an unhappy player at the club against his wishes.
However, it’s suggested that they will still play hardball over the situation, as they won’t let Mahrez leave unless an interested party offers £50m for him.
Monaco are second favourites to sign him, while staying at Leicester remains the third most likely scenario according to the odds.
With Arsene Wenger signing a new two-year deal this week to extend his stay at the Emirates, it’s widely felt that the 67-year-old will have to make changes to his squad this summer in order to appease frustrated supporters, as well as to bring in the quality to bridge the gap between the Gunners and their rivals at the top of the Premier League table.
Whether Mahrez is the right player to do that remains to be seen, but surely at that sort of price, Arsenal would be better off looking elsewhere.
Combine that with the fact that the former Le Havre ace only scored 10 goals and provided seven assists in 48 games last season, it’s a major gamble as he may well have had his best season in England already.