Roma have made significant inroads in their attempts to sign Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City after director of football Monchi met with the Algerian's representatives over a move to Serie A.

Arsenal have purportedly been the front-runners to sign the winger this summer but following Mohamed Salah's record move to Liverpool the side from the Stadio Olympico are desperate to sign a replacement.

Italian publication Leggo report that transfer guru Monchi has held initial talks with those representing Mahrez to gauge his interest in moving to last season's Serie A runners-up.

The 2015-16 PFA Players' Player of the Year has handed in a transfer request in order to force his exit from the King Power Stadium but as of last month the Foxes had not received any concrete offers.

Arsenal had been thought to be leading the race to sign Mahrez, though they are reportedly unwilling to pay the £50m demanded by Craig Shakespeare's side. Monaco's Thomas Lemar also remains a target for Arsene Wenger and it remains to be seen whether interest in Mahrez is pursued further.

But should a deal for Lemar fall through – an agreement which is expected to have been jeopardised by Tiemone Bakayoko's move from the principality club to Chelsea – then Roma appear to be leading the race to sign Mahrez.

The 26-year-old has previously indicated that a move to Arsenal would be his preferred option but Roma may be able to offer him a greater pay packet as well as the guarantee of Champions League football.

Wenger is a known admirer of Mahrez but has already suggested that Arsenal will make no more than three signings during the summer transfer window. Saed Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette have arrived from Schalke and Lyon respectively, with one further addition expected between now and the end of the summer transfer window on 31 August.

The interest from Roma has been triggered by the departure of Salah, who has joined Liverpool for a club record £36.9m. Arsenal could therefore have their own attempts to fresh up their attack thwarted indirectly by a Premier League rival in what could turn out to be a minor turning point in a summer which has otherwise been low key for the Reds.

Riyad Mahrez
Mahrez endured a tough season with Leicester last term. Getty Images