Arsenal were never close to signing Riyad Mahrez – Wenger

Arsenal were never close to signing Riyad Mahrez – Wenger

Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez was never “close” to joining Arsenal, according to manager Arsene Wenger.

The 26-year-old forward has been heavily linked with a move to North London since last summer on the back of playing an instrumental role in the Foxes winning their historic championship.

However, despite the reported interest, there hasn’t been a great desire to bring him to the Emirates as Wenger reveals due to the plethora of options he has on the flanks.

“We were never close… I rate him as a player but we have similar types with [Alex] Iwobi and [Jack] Wilshere back. [With] Ozil [too], we have plenty of the same type of players,” he said, as reported by the Evening Standard.

Arsenal fans react

Despite the admission of their manager, Arsenal supporters would like to see Mahrez put on the team’s jersey, with some questioning why Wenger feels the aforementioned Wilshere would do a better job on the flanks than a proven wide-forward in Mahrez.

Mahrez’s future

Mahrez featured in the seven-goal thriller against Arsenal, which opened this season’s Premier League, with the Gunners ran out 4-3 winners after trailing on two occasions.

All eyes will now be on Mahrez, who could be playing his final games with Leicester, as for much of the summer Roma have been keen to acquire his services as the Giallorossi view him as Mohamed Salah’s natural successor after the Egyptian international left the Italian capital for Liverpool.

Mahrez, whose present deal at the King Power Stadium expires in June 2020, has featured across 139 matches for Leicester since joining from AC Le Havre in 2014 and has registered 35 goals whilst creating a further 26.

His breathtaking 2015/16 campaign, which saw him register 17 goals and 10 assists as the Foxes claimed an historic first championship, saw him being named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year.