Riyad Mahrez has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal for the last two summers, but where would he fit in?
- Mahrez would add unpredictability to the right flank
- He could play as an attacking midfielder in a 3-4-2-1
The Algerian has made a name for himself playing on the right hand side of Leicester’s midfield. His skills on the ball, ability to beat players inside and outside and good technique has made him one of the Premier League’s most effective wingers.
If Arsenal wish to return to using a 4-2-3-1, Mahrez would be a great, albeit very different, option for the right flank.
Theo Walcott has usually played there and despite lacking ability on the ball, his out-to-in runs and finishing has made him a very useful asset down the years. Mahrez wouldn’t provide the same movement, but would add more skill and technical ability to Arsenal’s front line. His tendency to cut inside onto his left could open up more space for Hector Bellerin to overlap on the right as well.
A trio of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Riyad Mahrez looks very attractive on paper. There would, however, be concerns about Arsenal’s attack becoming too narrow. Alexis and Mahrez are also risk-takers who, on a bad day, are responsible for a lot of turnovers in possession.
Mahrez could also play as one of the two in Arsenal’s new 3-4-2-1 formation, although which side he plays on could affect his performance. For him to play in his more comfortable right sided position, he’d have to take Ozil’s spot in the team. While Mahrez is a very creative player, he’s not as good a playmaker as Ozil is.
He could play on the left hand side in place of Alexis should the Chilean leave this summer, but this would limit him by taking away his ability to cut inside onto his stronger left foot. Mahrez doesn’t have the scoring instincts of Alexis either.
As a compliment to Alexis and Ozil, Mahrez could be a fine addition to the squad. However, as a replacement for the pair, he doesn’t quite tick all the boxes.