Chelsea have moved ahead of Arsenal in the race to sign Riyad Mahrez if he leaves champions Leicester City this summer, according to bookmakers SkyBet.
The Premier League Player of the Year for 2015/16 has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal over the last week but no official bid has been forthcoming and SkyBet, who have a very active sports news channel, reckon that Chelsea are a more likely destination at this point.
Arsene Wenger is regarded as notoriously prudent in the market by some but Chelsea have been far more free spending over the last decade and many would back them to be the likelier of the London clubs to part with the sort of cash required to prise a player from a club which does not want to sell.
As usual, the ultimate decision will probably come down to the player, and his head must have been turned by all the speculation.
But it’s anyone’s guess how much it would cost to sign a player who, at 25, isn’t yet in his prime and was voted as the most valuable footballer in the richest league in the world last season.
Riyad Mahrez has had two and a half fantastic seasons at The Foxes, playing 90 times and scoring 25 goals from the wing. When you add as many assists as goals, and some physics-defying footwork, the Algerian has become one of the star turns in The Premier League.
The 5ft 10in 25-year-old has remained tight-lipped about a potential move and Chelsea may struggle to house the player with Willian and Hazard currently terrorising opponents from the wide areas.
But both of the aforementioned can play at number 10 and few Chelsea fans would turn down the opportunity to bring a player of genuine fantasy football to the club.