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Arsenal have received encouragement in their attempts to sign Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City after Craig Shakespeare conceded he could not guarantee whether or not the winger would stay this summer.
The Gunners’ top transfer target is Thomas Lemar from Monaco, but the Ligue 1 winners are digging their heels in on the Frenchman’s future and some reports claim they could demand as much as £80m for his signature.
Ironically, Monaco are one of the other teams to be linked with Mahrez but Roma were said to have been the first club to formalise their interest with a £20m bid which the Foxes turned down.
Mahrez was included in Leicester’s pre-season tour squad for the Premier League Asia Trophy in Hong Kong and Shakespeare gave an update on the winger’s future as he confirmed no bid had been made for his services but refused to confirm whether he would stay or not.
“I haven’t, no, and I don’t think the club will,” said Shakespeare. “We want him to stay. I would like him to stay, as manager.
“As I say, he has stated his case clearly but, while he is here, I need that full commitment.”
When asked if he thought he would be able to keep Mahrez, Shakespeare replied: “I’m not sure.
Shakespeare was flanked by captain Wes Morgan at the press conference ahead of the Foxes’ game against West Brom and he offered an insight into Mahrez’s mood in training since returning from holiday.
“I haven’t spoken to him,” said Morgan. “He has come back and he has been great so far.