Riyad Mahrez was reportedly close to signing for Liverpool over the weekend, suggesting they’re willing to pay £50m for a forward this month – much more than Arsenal can afford.

BeIN Sports reporter, Mohammed Al-Wadahi, revealed on Twitter that a ‘very reliable source’ informed him that Mahrez was house-hunting in Liverpool ahead of an alleged £49m move at the weekend.

“The news of the transfer to Liverpool is from a very reliable source – much more than the player’s agent,” Al-Wadahi says.

“(The news wasn’t published) until I received the green light from the same player who started looking for a house in Liverpool and was ready to move to Liverpool for a medical examination. At the last moment there were things I would come back to later.”

Over the weekend, it was reported that the winger was on his way to Merseyside. Leicester and Liverpool had apparently agreed a £49m fee and four-and-a-half year contract. Jurgen Klopp, it was said, wanted him as Philippe Coutinho’s replacement.

However, at the last minute, Liverpool ‘sources’ informed the media that the reports were ‘false’. Obviously Al-Wadahi doesn’t agree and is pretty insistent that the Algeria international was supposed to be moving to Liverpool.

If true, that means Liverpool are willing to spent £50m for a forward, much more than Arsenal have at their disposal, unless they sell Alexis Sanchez in January. If the Reds are also after Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, they could blow Arsenal out of the water with a lucrative bid.

You’ve also got to feel for Mahrez. The winger signed a new contract with Leicester after they won the Premier League in 2015/16 and now he can’t get anyone to buy him. He’s been close to moves to Arsenal, Roma and now Liverpool, with Barcelona even reportedly flirting with him over the summer, but still there’s been no deal.

It’s also worth considering that if the move fell through, it could be revisited and this might be a blow for Arsenal. Liverpool appear willing to pay whatever it takes to replace Philippe Coutinho who joined Barcelona for £140m this month.

Mahrez has scored seven goals and provided eight assists in 22 Premier League appearances this season. Arsenal might have a task fighting Liverpool for his signature, or Lemar’s.