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Leicester City manager Craig Shakespeare has admitted the club are willing to let Arsenal-target Riyad Mahrez go for the “suitable bid” this summer.
The Algerian international is due to line up for the Foxes in their Premier League opener against Arsenal on Friday night, despite having handed in a transfer request earlier this summer, reports the Daily Mail, with Shakespeare revealing the balancing act going on behind the scenes.
While Mahrez is professional and at the club, he will be available for selection. But if a suitor makes the right bid, Leicester will accept and grant the winger a departure. “Until we a get a bid that’s suitable for Leicester, then he stays. And if he stays focused then he’ll be considered for selection,” said the City manager.
Mahrez was keen to leave Leicester for a bigger European club who can consistently challenge for major honours, and Arsenal were believed to be the ideal destination for him.
However, the Gunners seemingly had ended their interest in the 26-year-old as they haven’t made a bid this summer. Ahead of the 2016/17 campaign, Arsenal were heavily –linked but saw their efforts rebuffed.
Now they have a green light to sign Mahrez and they are instead looking at Monaco’s Thomas Lemar among others. Roma have had a £32m bid rejected, so time might be running out for the Gunners to sign him.
The Leicester man didn’t have the best of seasons, however, scoring and creating only nine goals in 33 Premier League games, which may be why Arsenal are reticent to pay the reported £50m asking price.
But Shakespeare isn’t bothered if the club don’t sell Mahrez as he says he hasn’t had a problem with the player’s attitude, and plans to use him on Friday as a result.