The Scout Report: Riyad Mahrez

The Scout Report

With Alexandre Lacazette pretty much signed, sealed and delivered, Arsene Wenger will now likely turn his attention to his next target, Riyad Mahrez.

The Leicester winger is set to leave this summer and The Emirates would appear to be his most likely destination, in a move that would cost in the region of £40 million but, will Arsenal be signing a one season wonder?

Let’s take a closer look.

The 2015/16 season represented something truly magnificent for both Mahrez and Leceister.

The Algerian bagged 17 goals, got 11 assists and was the star of the Leicester team alongside one-time Gunners target Jamie Vardy and now Chelsea hero N’Golo Kante, as The Foxes shocked the world of football and won the Premier League title.

However, 12 months on, Kante has just won his second Premier League title but with Chelsea, while Vardy and Mahrez both remain at the King Power, with the club finishing the season in 12th place after poor individual seasons for the pair.

Despite this, it would appear that Mahrez will now get his big move, and while Arsenal are not quite his dream club Barcelona, the 26-year-old will be taking a step up in his career.

But what kind of deal will Arsenal be getting?

£40 million is a lot of money for a player who scored just 6 goals and only got 3 assists last season but, we all know what he is capable of.

However, he has only really had one standout season, 2015/16, that puts his value at around £40 million, so Arsenal need to do a bit of haggling with Leicester City and get the asking price down.

Despite the price tag, Mahrez would undoubtedly strengthen the squad. He may not be an automatic starter but what a player to have in reserve.

Mahrez’s end product in terms of goal and assists may have dropped last season but, how did the underlying numbers compare to his wonderful 15/16 season?

Although a drop in most of the numbers is evident, the decline is not as drastic as that of his goals and assists, with the Algerian still making 47 key passes and creating 50 chances, both impressive numbers.

They are especially impressive when compared with players who were widely regarded as having good seasons.

Mahrez outdoes the likes of Pedro, Son Heung Min, Joshua King and Wilfried Zaha, who were all praised for having good seasons.

So was Mahrez as bad as people make out?

The underlying stats would suggest no and this is a notion I believe to be true.

The issue with Mahrez’s 2016/17 is that he set such high standards for himself the season previous it was always going to be difficult to maintain or improve upon.

I also get the impression that as the season went on, the less and less he wanted to be at Leicester. A move to a big Premier League club, playing alongside higher calibre players could see the Algerian return to his devastating best.

As for where he’d fit in at Arsenal, I’m not quite sure.

If Wenger decides to stick with the 3-4-2-1, he would likely act as cover for Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, or slot right into the team should one of them depart.

However, if the boss decides to return to the 4-2-3-1, Mahrez would have an automatic starting spot, playing out on the right-hand side.

Either way, Mahrez is an addition Arsenal need.

He is an attacking threat, an almost unstoppable one on his day. His signing would bring a huge boost to fan morale and push the squad closer to being title contenders.

But, do you want Mahrez?

Should Arsenal Sign Riyad Mahrez?

Yes – Quality Player
No – One Season Wonder

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About the Author

Dan Mountney
Hi, I'm Dan and I'm currently studying Sports Journalism at the University for the Creative Art in Farnham, Surrey. I have supported Arsenal all my life and grew up watching arguably the greatest generation of players the club has ever had. I hope my love for the club comes across in my writing and that you enjoy what you've read from me!