Whilst the Gunners may have admittedly slipped up in the Premier League in their last two outings – against the respective powerhouses of both West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City – Arsene Wenger’s side have still performed rather well across their domestic duties this season.
Yet because Claudio Ranieri’s overachieving Leicester City have nonetheless maintained their impressive form right among the upper echelons of the league table, Arsenal seemingly haven’t performed quite well enough. If the Foxes can continue to dominate their individual matches on an almost week-to-week basis, then surely the Gunners must as well…
In a subsequent turn of events for fans of both sides this season however, Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez has recently seen his name linked with a whole host of clubs in 2015/16, including Arsenal. The pressure is on for the long-term Emirates boss in what could very well turn out to be one of the 66-year-old’s last major seasons on the top-flight managerial scene.
So then, could Riyad Mahrez really turn out a success at the Emirates, or does this loose paper talk simply represent nothing more than curious headline making at best?
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Well, although this particular transfer story would have likely been laughed off quickly had it been raised a mere matter of months ago, Mahrez is a player who is certainly on the up. The 24-year-old Algerian international has enjoyed a campaign to remember so far, consistently providing fans with a fair few goals and an abundance of assists to match.
The rapidly emerging Foxes man has been in dazzling form all season to be fair. His technical skill in front of goal has been effective to say the very least, the partnership formed between he and Jamie Vardy has proved too much to handle on occasion this term, and as the flying wide-man is looking more and more hungry with every passing match, maybe the good times have only just begun for Riyad Mahrez.
At 24-years-old, the Algerian star still theoretically has enough left in the tank to really make a name for himself in the Premier League. If he had been playing for a more technically gifted side – an outfit obviously superior than the determined Foxes – then perhaps the quick-footed no. 26 could have sparkled even brighter this season.
Arsenal could therefore arrive as the perfect destination for the current Leicester favourite. Although Mahrez is obviously highly valued by his current employers, the lure of the Emirates often proves tempting – especially for the many foreign imports who come to sample the notorious management style of a certain Arsene Wenger.
That said, although Arsenal would arguably suit the Algerian international down to the ground this January – do the Gunners even need him? Mahrez is a good player for sure, but question marks still surround his overall quality.
This is a talent who has only really just started to impress in the Premier League after all. It should arguably take a lot more achievement than that to be signed at the Emirates, especially for the kind of fee Leicester City will likely be asking for. The Premier League has become entirely unbalanced when it comes to genuine valuation over transfer fees recently, so even if Arsene Wenger was in-fact interested in the Foxes play-maker this January, it remains hard to imagine the Gunners spending over the odds in their pursuit of the reported target.
Although the Emirates faithful currently pay witness to a rather lengthy injury list at the moment – especially concerning several of Wenger’s most prominent attacking options – Mahrez is ultimately not the man to improve their season. Arsenal already pay host to a succession of players in a similar mould anyway, so perhaps some good old fashioned leadership quality should be sourced at the Emirates this January above all else. Lord knows the Gunners need it…
Riyad Mahrez has certainly looked good this season – but as we are yet to see how well he responds when the going gets tough down at the King Power Stadium – now is not the time for Arsenal to be making desperate panic buys in the January transfer window.