Riyad Mahrez to Arsenal: a non-story?

Riyad Mahrez

We’ve been linked to Riyad Mahrez by Eurosport France, which apparently is a real network over there which has a credibility which can be safely said to be greater than that of the Sun. Now I know that isn’t saying much but we’ll plod on anyway and try to look at things calmly shall we?

Who is Riyad Mahrez?

Haha. Got you there, just kidding. If you’re here then you are an Arsenal fan and if you are an Arsenal fan then you watch and follow the Premier League. If you do that then you already know who Riyad Mahrez is, unless you didn’t follow the last season because you were living under a rock. In which case I feel sorry for you. I digress, let us go back to the main point- Mahrez. I’ve always thought his name had a certain resonance to it. Quite a good name eh? Real emphatic, and very helpful for the commentators to scream because of the abundance of vowels that can be pulled out and elongated like an Arab commentator shouting ‘Goooooooooooooooooooaa……….aaaaaaaaaaaaaal’. They did call out his name like… a bazillion times last season. Every time he dribbled past people like they were not there, every time he scored a goal and every time he assisted that complete ass Vardy to score. On an entirely different note, what’s up, Jamie?

Riyad Mahrez is a product of the Le Havre academy from where he was snapped up by Leicester. The same academy has also produced Pogba, so quite a conveyor belt of talent right there it seems. He was overlooked by a host of top clubs for his figure and dubbed too ‘slight’. Why and how such talents are not unearthed earlier is a mystery that nobody can solve because we find that top level achievers are made more through intangibles like attitude and environment than just coming from a top club under great coaches. By any accounts he is a late bloomer with the season of his life at 25, and he is a youngster when compared to Dimitri Payet who also had the season of his life which culminated in France reaching the Euros’ final. So clearly the Algerian is a great player and young to boot, it sounds like everything is well and good up to here.

A break-out season surely

However, dear reader, let me interest you on the more subtle side of the game and why I personally don’t expect this to go through. Riyad Mahrez is primarily a right sided midfielder, and although his brilliance would transform our right wing play it is this very quality that means we might not get him unless we force a move through with brute force. Brute force doesn’t mean Wenger throwing a table at Ranieri, it means Kroenke’s coffers throwing some cash at the Leicester City owners. Who happen to be billionaires. Yes, they have no financial need to sell Mahrez. They cannot attract the talent we can but we cannot attract their talent if they give it a hard go too, as we saw with the Jamie Vardy saga.

Wenger let Isaac Hayden go on to Newcastle United even though he was a highly rated prospect. Also, note that Newcastle under Rafa Benitez are attempting to come straight back to the Prem next season so have no time for useless signings, they see something in the boy. Wenger must have seen something in him too otherwise he would have been let go of earlier. What interests me though is when he was let go and the reasons for it. They let him go when his career started being hindered by the Arsenal squad presence ahead of him. This is the same sort of kindly mindset Wenger has for every young kid at Arsenal and this is the same reason why we don’t always sign players who would be a minor improvement over what we already have: the youth project. The idea that we have a responsibility to our own.

We have a responsibility before Ox

So take a look at who Riyad Mahrez would displace. Oxlade Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Joel Campbell. The Ox clearly has Wenger’s affection as a player who has been a Wenger purchase at a young age and not very cheap either. Walcott ditto. Joel Campbell not so much one of our own but still I think Wenger is not the kind of manager who ruins careers. My guess is Riyad Mahrez coming in depends a lot on one of these players going out. Loan in the case of the Ox maybe but for the other two surely a transfer away. As long as they’re still thriving you can be assured Mahrez will not be bought for 50 mil. If we can get him for 25 somehow then surely we will but if they play hardball one of these is going to lose out.

Now whether we get him or not is a completely different matter. There was one report that said so and now everybody is using that to post new stories. Every Arsenal related news spammer blog worth its salt has an article about it titled “Mahrez to Arsenal”. You can judge everything for yourself by clicking on this link.

This same website has a link which says Alexis Sanchez could be on his way out as Mahrez comes in. So, you know, we’re choosing to choose the website selectively.
My suggestion is, follow @GFFN to keep up with this one. They posted tweets about the saga and they are actually trying to be honest about it.

In the end it’s all about managing expectations. We have our sorrows, you and I, as Arsenal fans. And we have our joys. We signed a young man who may well be a better player than John Stones in the future. Check this article out and enjoy.

Don’t let the crazy get to you ladies and gentlemen. Up the Arsenal.

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