Riyad Mahrez has reportedly told Leicester he wants to leave this summer.
The Algeria international has previously spoken about his desire to play in the Champions League again after Leicester’s run to the quarter finals this season.
With no European football at the King Power Stadium next season, we look at five clubs Mahrez could be playing for after the summer
The Gunners are the first to be linked with the winger this week, especially with boss Arsene Wenger seemingly on the verge of signing new two-year deal. Mahrez would fit into Arsenal’s system and his arrival could spell the end of Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the Emirates. Wenger launched a failed £20million bid to bring Jamie Vardy to the Emirates last season and has the financial muscle to bid big for Mahrez as the Frenchman looks to turn Arsenal back into title contenders. The issue is Mahrez wants to play Champions League football – something which Arsenal cannot provide next season.
A return to France would not be a surprise after he left Le Harve for Leicester for just £400,000 in 2014. PSG can pay the fee and the wages Mahrez is likely to demand – he is on a reported Â£100,000-a-week at Leicester – and offer the lure of the Champions League. Unai Emery’s side finished second in Ligue 1 this season after winning the title in the previous four seasons and will want to make a statement as they look to regain top spot. There was rumoured interest last summer, although no clubs made an official bid for Mahrez.
The newly crowned Ligue 1 champions have the pulling power to attract the 26-year-old after their resurgence. Monaco are hardly strapped for cash, but should they sell £100 million-rated Kylian Mbappe then they will be armed with money few clubs could turn down. Mahrez could also pick former boss Claudio Ranieri’s brains, with the Italian having guided Monaco back to the French top flight by winning Ligue 2 in 2013.
Barca were linked with Mahrez last summer, but a bid never materialised and it is hard to see the Catalan giants making a move this year. Mahrez’s stock was higher last term following Leicester’s Premier League win and his PFA Player of the Season award. His form fluctuated this season and he did not hit the heights which would be expected of a Barcelona player. Throw in a change of manager after Ernesto Valverde replaced Luis Enrique at the Nou Camp this week and a deal becomes more unlikely.
It’s not inconceivable Mahrez will remain at the King Power Stadium beyond the summer. Leicester hold all the cards and will only sell if they can get market value for a player who was voted the best in the Premier League last season. He signed a four-year deal less than 12 months ago and Press Association Sport understands it does not have a release clause. Mahrez may want to leave but that will be entirely up to Leicester.