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Arsenal Transfer News: Latest Riyad Mahrez and Simon Kjaer Rumours

Published by Bleacher Report on Tue, 16 Aug 2016

Arsenal are reportedly "unlikely" to make a bid for Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez, as the Gunners focus on adding new players to other areas of the team.This is despite mooted Arsenal target Mahrez claiming he would consider leaving the Foxes for "two or three clubs," per James Benge of the London Evening Standard.Mahrez has tried to ease fears about his future with the Premier League champions but still managed to leave the door ajar: "Now, there are two or three clubs in the world, that if they come for me, it definitely makes you think, if you understand what I am trying to say."Yet Benge has ruled the Gunners out of the mix by stating: "Arsenal have been among the leading sides monitoring Mahrez but Standard Sport understands that the Gunners are unlikely to make a move in the current window as their priorities remain in other positions."Arsenal's links to Mahrez have been rather tangled in recent weeks. Reports from French publicationL'Equipe(h/t Aaron Flanagan of the Daily Mirror) stated the Gunners had submitted a bid worth 35 million for the 25-year-old wing wizard.However, those claims were soon rebuffed by sources at Sky Sports, according to Rory O'Callaghan of SkySports.com, who reported no bid had come from Arsenal for Leicester's Algerian international.Seen one way, the decision to back off from any potential deal for Mahrez makes a certain amount of sense for Arsenal, since manager Arsene Wenger's squad is already amply stocked with gifted forwards in wide areas.In particular, 20-year-old Nigerian Alex Iwobi has shown enough promise to be given every chance to make a first-team spot his own this season. Wenger also still maintains faith in inconsistent England duo Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, both of whom scored for the Gunners during their 4-3 home defeat to Liverpool to begin the new season.Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez is the talisman in attack whenever he's given a roving brief from the flanks. Wenger is also not averse to moving central playmakers into wide areas. Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla have all performed this role at various times in their respective Arsenal careers.Wenger can feel secure about not needing another winger, especially since he knows his greater needs are at centre-forward and centre-back.Gunners Make Approach for Simon KjaerSpeaking of Arsenal's centre-back search, it's now reportedly taken them to Danish international Simon Kjaer. In fact, the Gunners are said to have already approached Fenerbahce about a possible deal, according to ESPN FC's Eren Sarigul:Arsenal have made an enquiry about Fenerbahce defender Simon Kjaer, a source close to the club told ESPN FC.Fenerbahce want to keep hold of Kjaer over the summer and have yet to receive a formal offer, the source said.Arsenal would have to make the Turkish club an offer that exceeds their 15 million valuation.BBC Sport reporter David Ornstein first hinted at interest in Kjaer when he detailed the snags Arsenal are facing in their mooted bid to try and sign Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi:Regardless of price concerns, though, Wenger knows he can't ignore Arsenal's need for centre-back reinforcements any longer. Not already bringing in a replacement for injured duo Per Mertesacker and Gabriel led to pairing youngsters Rob Holding and Calum Chambers together to face Liverpool.It was a gamble that didn't pay off, as the visitors' lightning-fast and fluid forward line plundered three of Liverpool's four goals and caused havoc on the day.The Gunners' issues at the back are compounded by Wenger's need to rest Frenchman Laurent Koscielny after his long UEFA Euro 2016 campaign when he helped guide the host nation all the way to the final.There would appear to be little room in this context for Wenger to haggle over any fee. Still, Arsenal can't be forced to pay wildly over the odds for a player who may or may not improve their options just because of their current need.That's not to say Mustafi is a poor choice. After all, the 24-year-old is a German international with a decent pedigree in Europe. However, he was also part of a Valencia back line ripped apart 7-0 by Barcelona in last season's Copa del Rey. Mustafi was sent off with the score already 3-0.There's no denying Arsenal need a central defender or two. Yet when the fees begin to escalate, it's important Wenger is sure he's getting a player who will really improve things at the back and won't quickly turn into a high-priced flop.
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