Mahrez Signs a New Contract – Was Arsenal Really Interested?
Unless you’re living in some cave with no access to the internet, you must have heard that last season’s Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez, has signed a new deal with the defending champions, Leicester City, till 2020. Mahrez joins the list of high-profile Leicester players that have been tied down with new contracts following their phenomenal campaign last season. Shot stopper, Kesper Schmeichel, club captain, Wes Morgan, Andy King and their alpha predator in attack, Jamie Vardy, had extended their contracts with the club this summer.
Jamie Vardy was a player that was really close to a move away from the King Power Stadium with Arsenal activating his release clause of about 20m but surprisingly, Vardy chose to remain with the club instead of taking a punt at his biggest shot at a ‘big club’ before hanging his boots. I use the word ‘surprisingly’ because I was quite shocked that a player from a club like Leicester (no disrespect to them of course) would turn down a move to join Arsenal. The saddening part was that there was no other concrete move for a center forward after the Vardy talks broke down. There were whispers of Gonzalo Higuain, Alexandre Lacazette and Mauro Icardi but they look like smokescreens to me.
Suddenly the internet was filled up with all sorts of bollocks that Arsenal was heavily interested in signing Mahrez. When his agent was spotted watching the RC Lens vs Arsenal game in preseason, the keyboard click bait seeking warriors started pushing stories that he possibly had talks with Arsene Wenger and stuff like that. There was the period Mahrez declined Leicester’s contract offer (possibly because he wasn’t satisfied with the terms on offer) but news surfaced that he had fixed his mind on joining Arsenal, thereby rejecting Leicester’s contract offer.
Maybe he was playing hard ball with his team and was waiting for the Gunners to do something but I can’t remember any creditable sports site confirming that Arsenal placed a bid for the Algerian winger. Then again, the writing was on the wall that Arsenal wasn’t going to go for the winger, especially with the manager promoting Jeff Reine-Adelaide to the first team. Then there were the superb performances by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in preseason and he capped it up with a good goal in the opening game against Liverpool.
It’s looking like Mahrez’s agent used the Arsenal story to get a very good offer for his client, but that’s not a new thing in football is it? Now that he has signed a new deal, I guess Arsenal and whoever that’s interested in his services would have to take a side step and look elsewhere,
coz’ Mahrez remains a Fox.
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