It could have been one of the most tedious sagas of the final days of the transfer window, but Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez will now definitely not be joining Arsenal.
Various reports (most of them in France, admittedly) had been sure that the Algerian international would end up at the Emirates by the end of this month, but that will now not be the case.
Arsenal were not the only club to register an interest, with Chelsea also linked at one stage, and when quotes attributed to Mahrez this morning suggested that “two or three clubs” would make him consider his future, this story looked it might have a way to run yet.
However, the Premier League champions have tonight confirmed that the winger has committed his future to the club by signing a new four-year contract to take up him up the summer of 2020.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) August 17, 2016
The 25-year-old had a starring role in Leicester’s title win last season, scoring 17 goals and being named as the PFA Player of the Year. Keeping one of their star players at the club will be a massive boost to manager Claudio Ranieri, particularly having lost midfielder N’Golo Kanté to Chelsea.
Ranieri had stressed the importance of keeping the bulk of his squad together in this window, particularly with a Champions League campaign coming up this season, and he has been able to do just that.
The Foxes began their title defence with a disappointing 2-1 loss to Premier League new boys Hull City last weekend, but will be looking to put that right against Arsenal at the King Power Stadium on Saturday evening.
Leicester fans, understandably, are delighted to have have one of their best players tied down for the next four years:
Mahrez has signed!! ???????????? #lcfc
— Sonal (@Sonal_x) August 17, 2016
— Leicester City FC (@FIRST4LCFC) August 17, 2016
— CHRISSIE SNOW (@chrissieminaj01) August 17, 2016
— Siân (@Sian_94) August 17, 2016
— Daniel March (@pilsymarch) August 17, 2016
And then, of course, there’s this…
— Match of the Day Mag (@MOTDmag) August 17, 2016