The speculation linking Arsenal with Riyad Mahrez simply refuses to go away, with reports in Algeria suggesting that a deal worth €44 million is close. The report in Le Buteur also states that Mahrez has already agreed personal terms with the Gunners.
However, this has been met with scepticism by journalists across the globe and could be over-ambitious in terms of what stage the deal is at. It is clear that Arsenal are interested in Mahrez and a move makes sense as there is no clear candidate at the club to start the season on the right-wing. Neither Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain nor Theo Walcott have convinced Arsene Wenger
over the last 12 months, and Mahrez offers a proven solution.
Leicester do not want to sell Mahrez, especially as he is one of the few players in their squad who can compete at the very top level. If they are to have a successful Champions League campaign, keeping hold of Mahrez is essential. It will also be a boost for the squad, as it would represent that the club are serious about challenging in the top six again.
Although Mahrez is key to the side, they need
to end this transfer saga one way or another. Leicester should either persuade him to commit to the club, or sell him now, thereby giving the club sufficient time to identify a suitable replacement.
Another possible outgoing is Leonardo Ulloa, who has been linked with several clubs in the past few weeks. Swansea City are the latest club mentioned, and have made an enquiry for the Argentine according to the BBC. The side from South Wales are desperately searching for new forward options after Eder, Alberto Paloschi and Bafetimbi Gomis all left the club.
Rightly, Leicester are not keen to sell Ulloa, but if a good offer is forthcoming, they may look to upgrade on him, as he is replaceable, and retaining Jamie Vardy can be looked upon as far more important.
It is certainly an odd rumour as Ulloa does not fit into the current Swansea style. Also for Ulloa, he has enjoyed a great deal of minutes at Leicester and did well last season. By remaining at the KP Stadium, the forward will also get the opportunity to play in the Champions League, something that may
not come around again for him in his career. It makes sense for him to stay and help Leicester try to defend their title.
Ulloa will be fighting with Shinji Okazaki and Ahmed Musa for game-time, but with the increased number of matches, he should still get lots of first-team chances if he does stay.
In terms of incomings, the move for Bartosz Kapustka is continuing to progress, with Leicester submitting a second bid of £7.5 million. The Leicester Mercury report that this is likely to be accepted and the club hope to complete a move, despite interest from Borussia Dortmund, Ajax, Everton and
Kapustka can play on either wing or behind the striker, and would add to Claudio Ranieri’s attacking options for the coming season. There is still plenty of work to build squad depth capable of dealing with the extra games, and this would be another good addition to that roster.
Although the Polish international remains young at just 19 years of age, he is one of the most exciting talents in Europe, as he demonstrated at the European Championships. If they manage to complete the deal, it will show that the champions can compete with the best clubs in the world and attract exciting young players.
Nonetheless, it is a deal that is more for the long term, as Kapustka is going to develop a great deal over the next few years, but he is still capable of offering something to the team this campaign, as he showed with Poland. Leicester lack quality on the left wing and Kapustka could make that position his own over the coming months.
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