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Riyad Mahrez has one final opportunity to convince Arsene Wenger that he is the player the Arsenal boss needs to bolster his attack.
The Gunners host Leicester on Friday night in the season opener at the Emirates, with Mahrez expected to start for the Foxes despite his very public statements about wanting to leave this summer.
Just last weekend the Algeria international went on Sky Sports and repeated his desire to leave. The interview came after he had handed in an official transfer request.
Several clubs have been linked with the 26-year-old, including Arsenal – with Wenger hinting earlier in the summer that he was pondering a bid.
So far, however, an offer has not materialised, with the Gunners boss focusing on securing a deal for Monaco winger Thomas Lemar.
With that potential transfer looking increasingly unlikely, however, Wenger is being forced to consider alternatives and Mahrez is certainly on his list.
And reports in the player’s homeland have long suggested that the 2016 PFA player of the season prefers a move to the Emirates over any other destination.
So Friday’s game offers Mahrez one final opportunity to show Wenger exactly why he should front up the cash needed to take him to north London.
Some wondered whether Craig Shakespeare would even start Mahrez against a club he would like to join, but the Leicester boss insists he has no issues playing his star man.
“I have to say he’s been very focused, when I say driven – he hasn’t given me one problem of pulling him to the side and saying, ‘oi, pull your finger out’,” Shakespeare said.
“We know he’s come out and said that he wants to leave. Until we get a bid that is accepted that is reasonable for Leicester then he stays.
“As long as he stays focused, then he will be considered for selection.”
Mahrez will know this is his big chance to impress. If he really wants a move to Arsenal, then there is no greater incentive than to play well on Friday night in front of Wenger and 60,000 fans at the Emirates.
Roma are another club eyeing the forward and are the only ones to have made a firm offer for the player this summer.
In fact, they have made three and reports in Italy suggest a fourth is imminent.
But with Mahrez believed to want to stay in England, Friday represents possibly his final chance to prompt Wenger into making his move.