Arsene Wenger has played down Arsenal’s interest in Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez.
Mahrez has been reported as an Arsenal target for some time, with many believing that we’ll eventually make an effort to sign him.
However, if Wenger’s recent comments are anything to go by, it seems we won’t be trying at all.
“We were never close… I rate him as a player but we have similar types with [Alex] Iwobi and [Jack] Wilshere back,” Wenger said, as reported by The Daily Star.
“[With] Ozil [too], we have plenty of the same type of players.”
It was thought that Arsenal would target Mahrez if they were unable to sign Monaco’s Thomas Lemar. In fact, a stock line in many of the Lemar reports this summer was that Mahrez was our backup target.
Wenger’s words, though, suggest that it’s Lemar or nobody.
Mahrez is an attainable player. He’s made his desire to leave Leicester clear numerous times this season, and admitted he would have liked to talk with Roma, who were showing an interest earlier in the summer.
With Arsenal seemingly dropping out the race, it could be Roma or nothing for Mahrez.
Interestingly, Wenger named Jack Wilshere specifically, which could be the first indication that summer that the midfielder is part of Wenger’s plans for this season.
Wilshere was one of the fringe players that was reportedly up for sale. Wenger’s comments could well be a hint that this is no longer the case.