Arsenal are closing in on Leicester City star midfielder Riyad Mahrez, as bookmakers have slashed odds on the Algerian international joining the Emirates Stadium side. The Foxes are believed to have placed a £50m price tag on the player, who has been the club’s talisman since joining them in the Championship from French Ligue 2 side Le Havre in 2014.
As reported by Leicester Mercury, an influx of bets on the future of the midfielder have seen Mahrez’s odds of joining Arsène Wenger’s side fall to as short as 6/4 with Paddy Power and 11/8 with Betfred. Over 64% of all bets wagered on the potential destination of the Foxes star are for the player to move to Arsenal.
As the global furore over Leicester City’s phenomenal 2015-2016 Premier League victory gradually diminishes, it is widely believed that Mahrez will move to a higher calibre club in this summer’s transfer window. The side have suffered a fall from grace this season in the league, as they plunged to the foot of the table, before re-stabilising and achieving a 12th-placed finish.
Mahrez starred in the side’s entertaining Champions League campaign; scoring 4 goals and contributing 2 assists before eventually succumbing to Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid in the quarter-final. The talented midfielder has been less effective in the Premier League than last season however, scoring just six goals in 36 matches after netting 17 in 37 last campaign.
The anticlimactic effect of last season’s unprecedented glory clearly had a huge impact upon the side this season, as a number of the teams’s stars of the title-winning campaign failed to recreate anything close to the magic of Claudio Ranieri’s glorious league victory. The Italian manager was sacked in February, as the Foxes languished near the bottom of the table.
The competition for Mahrez is set to be fierce, given the attacking qualities the player has shown in the Premier League and now the Champions League. While Arsenal are now believed to be in pole position to sign the Algerian, the likes of Monaco (5/2), Chelsea (10-1) and PSG (14-1) could still be in the running. The average odds for Mahrez to remain with City are currently 7-1.