Arsenal Transfer News: Latest Rumours on Riyad Mahrez and Rafinha

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2017

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 18:  Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City looks on during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur at The King Power Stadium on May 18, 2017 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Riyad Mahrez's desire to play under Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will reportedly see him opt for the Gunners ahead of Chelsea and Liverpool if he moves on from Leicester City this summer.

According to Algerian outlet Le Buteur (h/t Metro), Mahrez wants a move to Arsenal, "where he is said to believe a dressing room full of French speakers would accelerate his acclimatisation," and would relish the prospect of working with Wenger.

The feeling would appear to be mutual as the Frenchman is a fan of the winger, as he told BeIN Sports (h/t MailOnline): 

"We have not made a bid, but personally, I like the player, yes.

"I think he made a huge impact when they won the championship. Like at everybody else at Leicester, this season has been more challenging, but it doesn’t take away from his qualities.

"Have we made a bid for him? No. Not yet. No, we have not. When I say 'not yet' it means it could happen. It might not happen."

Mahrez was named the PFA Player of the Year for 2015-16 after he played a key role in Leicester's sensational title win. Like his team-mates, he failed to live up to that form last season.

Nevertheless, he finished the campaign with 10 goals and seven assists in all competitions, and it was often still clear the 26-year-old is a cut above those around him at the King Power Stadium, per Bleacher Report's James McNicholas:

McNicholas further believes Mahrez would make for a good signing for Arsenal:

His stock may have fallen slightly over the last year, and his consistency could be a cause for some concern, but he has the technical ability to fit in at the Emirates and could make for a fine addition to the side.

Meanwhile, according to ESPN Brazil (h/t Metro), Barcelona midfielder Rafinha is weighing up an offer from Arsenal.

The Brazilian is valued by Barca at €30 million (£26.4 million), but the Catalan giants are prepared to use him as a makeweight in a potential deal for Hector Bellerin.

GRANADA, SPAIN - APRIL 02:  Uche Henry Agbo of Granada CF (R) being followed by Rafinha Alcantara of FC Barcelona (L) during the La Liga match between Granada CF v FC Barcelona at Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes on April 02, 2017 in Granada, Spain.  (Photo by
Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

The 24-year-old boasts the technique and footballing intelligence one would expect from a top La Masia graduate, and while he's best in central midfield, he's versatile and has covered in other positions too. 

Indeed, the left-footer has played on the right, both in a wing-back position and further forward.

However, while Rafinha looks highly promising, injuries have stalled his career fairly severely in recent years.

He spent most of the 2015-16 season out with a cruciate ligament injury, and after various complaints throughout the last campaign, it ended early for him in April, per ESPN's Samuel Marsden:

Rafinha looks to have outstanding potential, but his injury record would make him a significant gamble—he could become yet another Arsenal player who spends more time on the sidelines than he does on the pitch.

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