It seems that Leicester City will have a tough fight on their hands to keep hold of Riyad Mahrez at the end of the season.
The Algerian has been magnificent this campaign for the Foxes, scoring 14 goals and assisting a further ten.
His impressive performances have attracted the attention of both Barcelona and Real Madrid and manager Claudio Ranieri has had to respond to recent speculation linking their winger with a move away from the club.
“We want to keep all our players. We believe in them. But if a player says, ‘Boss, I want to go there because it’s my ambition to go there’, I’ll say, ‘Go and enjoy, and good luck’. I want only players happy to stay here,” he told reporters
But Ranieri’s comments may have made clubs sit up and realise that they have a real possibility of singing Mahrez at the end of the season.
The Sun are reporting that following Ranieri’s admission, Arsenal have upped their interest in the 25-year-old and believe they can capture him for £20 million.
The Gunners may be trailing the Foxes in the league table, but feel they can tempt Mahrez to sign for them at the end of the season, regardless of who wins the title.
Mahrez would give Arsene Wenger's team the added quality they seemed to lack in their disappointing 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Alexis Sanchez has struggled for form since returning from injury, while Theo Walcott offered very little during his 63 minutes on the pitch.
Following the late win against Norwich, Leicester are 12 points clear of Manchester United in fifth and appear set to be playing Champions League football next season - something that Ranieri hopes will help keep his stars at the club.
“Of course, it makes it easier to keep him,” said Ranieri. “For this reason, the next five matches are very important. It’s our key. We have to fight because this opportunity won’t come back.
Arsenal are bound to face stiff competition from the two Spanish clubs to sign the Leicester star.
Mahrez, who was signed from Le Havre for £400,000 in 2014, has already declared his desire to play for Barcelona with his idol, Lionel Messi.
Real Madrid will also be planning to spend big in the summer with a suspended transfer ban looming over them.
However, if Mahrez wants to leave Leicester and remain in the Premier League, the Gunners are keen to snap up the talented winger.
His performances have been key to Leicester’s incredible title challenge as they sit top of the league, two points clear of Tottenham and five clear of Arsenal.
Arsenal fans: Would Riyad Mahrez be a good signing for your club? Let us know in the comments box below!
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