Arsenal are planning an approach to sign Leicester City playmaker Riyad Mahrez in the summer transfer window.

According to the Italian publication Calciomercato, the French-born Algerian international is wanted by Arsene Wenger at the Emirates Stadium. The north London club are believed to be close to agreeing a deal for the 26-year-old.

Mahrez was an integral part of the Leicester squad that won the Premier League in 2015/16 season. He failed to replicate the title winning season's form during the last campaign as he scored only six goals and registered three assists. He scored 11 goals across all competitions.

Wenger has already stressed that a dip in Mahrez's form last season should not take "anything away from his qualities". The Gunners' manager publicly expressed his admiration for the former Le Havre man, while confirming no bids were made for the player, while talking to beIN Sports in June.

"We have not made a bid for him but personally I like the player, yes. I think he had a huge impact at Leicester when they won the championship, like everybody else," Wenger told beIN Sports, as quoted by ESPN.

"It's been a different season this year but it doesn't take anything away from his qualities. Have we made a bid for him? No. Not yet. Not yet means it could happen, it could not happen.''

Mahrez has already conveyed his decision to leave the club this summer. This has seen him attract interest from clubs in England and abroad. Apart from Arsenal, La Liga giants Barcelona are also looking at the option of signing Mahrez.

The Spanish club's manager, Ernesto Valverde, has identified Mahrez and Manchester United's Ander Herrera as alternatives if Barcelona fail to land Paris Saint-Germain star Marco Verratti this summer. However, the Calciomercato report says Arsenal have taken the lead in securing Mahrez's signature. They say the deal is likely to be announced soon.

Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez is a reported target for Arsenal and Barcelona Getty