Arsene Wenger is reportedly set to put his hand in his pocket for two of Leicester standout players from their remarkable Premier League winning season – a refreshing change from signing nomads from the depths of Ligue 1!
Arsenal’s manager has openly admitted that the club’s transfer plans for next season are already well underway, news that received a mixed reception from the Emirates faithful – who welcomed the prospect of transfer activity, but were frustrated to learn that Wenger would likely continue for another campaign.
The 66-year-old Frenchman will certainly need to strengthen his midfield given that ageing members of his squad, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini, will all depart at the end of the season when their contracts expire.
Wenger is understood to currently be in talks with both N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez, who’ve been the subject of intense interest from the Gunners in recent months
In a frustrating reveal for Arsenal fans, Wenger explained in a press conference that he considered signing Mahrez from French outfit Le Havre when the Algeria international was playing in the French second division – Arsenal fans will be hoping Wenger fully commits to the transfer this time around.
Kante has been continuously linked with the club following his rapid development over the course of this season’s Premier League campaign. Many Arsenal fans predict – or rather hope – that Kante could be the answer to the defensive-midfield conundrum that has plagued Arsenal since Patrick Vieira left the club, although Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny are certainly stating their claims to fulfil the role.
According to the reputable French publication France Football, Arsenal have already enquired about the availability of both players and are willing to offer the newly-crowned Premier League champions an initial£60m for the pair – with Mahrez set to cost £40m and Kante valued at around half that figure.
Mahrez has been a Premier League sensation this season, having been named the PFA Player of the Year at the end of April. The 25-year-old Algerian netted 17 times from the wing, having also created 11 assists for his teammates after emerging as Leicester’s playmaking midfielder.
Of course Claudio Ranieri does not want to lose any of his players during the summer, though the title-winning Italian predicted a sudden surge of interest in his star players, stressing that any player that does not want to be at the King Power Stadium, will be allowed to leave as he doesn’t want those type of players amongst his squad.
Mahrez’s agent added further fuel to the fire, remarking:
“Yes of course there is a possibility.
“They will play in the Champions League next year as well so he would be happy to stay, but at his age if the opportunity comes to play for a big team then we would have to think about it.
I’d say it’s 50-50 at the moment whether he stays or goes.”
Kamel Bengougam, Riyad Mahrez’s Agent
Kante’s impressive form this season has seen the tenacious midfielder finally break into the France squad ahead of the 2016 European Championships next month, Kante may well expect a starting spot in the French line-up after featuring in international friendlies against the Netherlands and Russia in March, scoring a goal against the latter.
Whether any deal will go through is a never-ending mystery for Arsenal fans, who have grown accustomed to seeing their side linked with nearly every major star, every summer transfer window. Mahrez and Kante would add fantastic strength in depth… though it still doesn’t solve the ‘world class centre-back and striker’ combination Arsenal have been in need of for half a decade.