Arsenal have made a formal enquiry into the availability of Riyad Mahrez, according to France Football.
It was reported earlier in the week that Arsenal had already made contact with the Foxes over France international Kante, but now it is claimed that Arsène Wenger has held discussions over the possibility of a double swoop for the Leicester City pair.
Arsène Wenger is not alone by any means in trying to lure PFA Player of the Year Mahrez from the King Power Stadium, with Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Real Madrid and both Manchester clubs also thought be chasing the signature to of one of the Premier League champions’ finest assets.
Mahrez has been sensational for Leicester this season, lighting up the Premier League with skill and flair, as well as aiding his side's cause with 17 goals and 11 assists, leading many to see the Algerian as being the key to Leicester’s title push this year.
And despite Wenger denying that any such formal communication has taken place in his pre-match press conference on Saturday, France Football have said that discussions have already taken place between the two clubs.
However, signing both Mahrez and Kante will not come cheap for the Arsenal manager, with Leicester said to value Mahrez at over £40 million, while reports have claimed that Kante’s release clause in his contract is around the £25 million mark.
Nevertheless a more pressing concern for the Gunners and their transfer rivals is whether or not both Kanté and Mahrez would want to leave a team that has etched their names into footballing folklore across the globe.
Indeed, with Leicester competing in the Champions League next season and their squad widely reported to be close friends both on and off the pitch, it is hard to see why they would necessarily want to leave the Premier League champions.
And after lifting the trophy over the weekend, Mahrez himself has moved away from rumours linking him to an impending exit, responding “Yeah, yeah,” to questions by reporters asking if he would definitely be staying next season
“I am very happy and very proud to have this trophy. Some things are just amazing” he is quoted as saying in the Daily Express.
It is also thought Leicester will be opening contract negotiations with their talented winger within the next few weeks, while Leicester’s owners have also stated their determination to keep hold of their star players, telling Thai television that they will ‘not be selling anyone’, according to The Sun.
However, Mahrez’s agent, Kamel Bengougam, hinted that there could be some flexibility when it comes to a potential transfer, telling The Guardian that there was ’50/50’ chance he could leave in the summer.
Whether Arsenal and Wenger can do enough to persuade the Algerian international to come to the Emirates Stadium only time will tell, however it is clear that the Gunners are desperate to seize the initiative in the race to sign Leicester’s finest miracle-makers.