- Riyad Mahrez is in talks with Liverpool over replacing Philippe Coutinho – but he would prefer to sign for Arsenal instead
Insiders in Mahrez’s camp have exclusively revealed to Express Sport that terms of a transfer are being discussed with Liverpool chiefs.
That follows the £142million sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona , which was completed this week.
Algerian winger Mahrez, 26, is on the Reds’ wish-list of signings despite the club privately admitting otherwise.
While bringing forward a deal to sign Naby Keita is a priority, Mahrez is an alternative option that is being explored by Liverpool this month as they bid to plan for life without Coutinho.
Mahrez slapped in a transfer request at Leicester last summer and is open to a move to Anfield.
But Jurgen Klopp’s men are not his No 1 option.
Mahrez has just bought a property in London and it remains his preference to sign for Arsenal – if a deal can be done.
Sources close to the player insist, however, that no talks have been held with the Gunners.
Leicester are desperate to keep their playmaker and boss Claude Puel has claimed star man Mahrez does NOT want to quit.
Mahrez was linked with a move to Barcelona in 2016 after helping Leicester win the Premier League title.
But he signed a new four-year deal to stay at the King Power stadium instead – only to demand a transfer a year later.
Puel said: “He is a happy player. After that it is all speculation.
“There is no problem. I want to continue to work with my best players like Riyad.”
Mahrez is unlikely to fulfil his wish to move to the Emirates unless Arsenal sell Alexis Sanchez.
It has emerged today that both Manchester United and Manchester City are interested in the Chile forward, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
Gunners legend Ian Wright believes the prospect of Sanchez and Mesut Ozil walking away from the club could affect their ability to tempt him, however.
“Of course Arsenal are good enough for him but if he went there then he would have to pull up trees,” Wright told Sky Sports.
“What help has he got? He is looking at two unbelievable players that might walk out.”