Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez is set to reject an extension on his current contract with the Foxes and seek a challenge elsewhere this summer. The Algerian was awarded the PFA Player of the year last season after making 28 goals in the league, more than any other player in the division.
The Guardian reports that Mahrez has been made a £80,000 ($105,552) a week offer by Leicester but he has his heart set on a move to a major European power this summer with Barcelona among the few teams interested in his signature. Arsenal have also been linked with the player and Arsene Wenger, having missed out on Jamie Vardy and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, may look to resurrect his interest in the forward in a bid to strengthen the Gunners' chances of challenging for the title.
It will come as a major blow for manager Claudio Ranieri, who is set to lose midfielder N'Golo Kante to Chelsea after reports claiming that the Frenchman has agreed terms with the Premier League outfit. The Foxes managed to keep hold of Jamie Vardy but have their work cut out to keep hold of Mahrez, especially after Kante's leaving reports. The news comes only a day after Ranieri had stated that he expects Mahrez to stay beyond the end of the summer.
"He remains with us. He's not the kind of man who will say: 'Coach I want to leave.' He is happy here," said Ranieri at the club's training camp in Austria.
The talks of a move was already in the air after Mahrez's agent Kamel Bengougam had said that his client wanted to make a move to a bigger club. Mahrez was happy to stay with Leicester in the Champions League but playing for a bigger club was something that he had always wanted.
"When you have been playing the way Riyad has this season it is bound to attract attention," said Bengougam. "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."