Arsenal "in talks" to sign Mahrez and Kante

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Mahrez linked with Arsenal
Mahrez linked with Arsenal

Arsenal are reported to have opened talks with Leicester over a deal to sign their Premier League title winning heroes Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante.

The respected France Football magazine claims Arsene Wenger's side have targeted Mahrez and Kante as their top summer transfer targets, in a deal that could be worth up to £60m.

Leicester have vowed to hang on to as many of their title winners as possible as they look towards a season in the Champions League, but boss Claudio Ranieri has suggested Kante will leave if the right offer is received.

Kante is believed to have a buy-out clause in his Leicester contract and he is ready to make a move after his sparkling debut season in the Premier League. 

Mahrez has told Leicester chiefs that he is happy to stay at the club, but his agent Kamel Bengougam has hinted he may be ready to cash in on his success at a moment when he is at the peak of his powers, with Barcelona, Manchester United and Chelsea among the club’s also being linked with a move for the Algerian playmaker.

“Yes of course there is a possibility,” Bengougam said when asked whether Mahrez could move ahead of the new season.

“When you have been playing the way Riyad has this season it is bound to attract attention. He is very happy with Leicester and of course it has been a fantastic season.

“They will play in the Champions League next year as well so he would be happy to stay, but at his age if the opportunity comes to play for a big team then we would have to think about it. I'd say it's 50-50 at the moment whether he stays or goes.

“We have interest from the UK and overseas. We will have to see what develops over the next few weeks.”

Arsenal could offer PFA Player of the Year Mahrez and French international Kante a huge pay increase, with Champions League football also on offer if the Gunners secure a top three finish in the Premier League in their final home game against Aston Villa on Sunday.