Roma could be about to end their transfer interest in Riyad Mahrez, giving Arsenal renewed hope of signing the £50million-rated Leicester City winger this summer.
The Algeria international has been in demand for much of this summer, with some speculation that the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham could also be in for him.
However, Arsenal and Roma have looked the main contenders for Mahrez’s signature since he publicly admitted he wanted out of the King Power Stadium at the end of last season.
The 2015/16 PFA Player of the Year is expected to cost a big fee, and Roma director of football Monchi has admitted his club are looking at alternative options after two failed bids, suggesting they won’t go any higher.
‘We’re not just working on one name,’ Monchi told reporters.
‘It’s logical, we have different options. In the case of Mahrez it’s become public knowledge, with others it hasn’t.
‘We’ve made two offers, the second is fair and then we stopped. There are no percentages, the deal will get over the line or it won’t.
‘Mahrez is one of the options, not the only one. It’s true that this could be the last offer, we’re evaluating other options.’
Arsenal are thought to be keen on adding another attacker before the end of the summer, though Monaco’s Thomas Lemar is widely understood to be Arsene Wenger’s priority.
Still, links with Mahrez have not died down, with the 26-year-old likely to be the Gunners’ second choice if a deal cannot be done for Lemar, which looks increasingly likely amid reports of Monaco rejecting another bid from the north Londoners.
Speaking earlier this summer, Mahrez said: ‘Out of the huge admiration and respect I hold for Leicester City Football Club I wanted to be totally honest and transparent with them and have therefore informed the club that I feel now is the time for me to move on.
Riyad Mahrez's Premier League season Games played36Goals scored6Assists3
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‘I had a good discussion with the Chairman last summer and we agreed at that time that I would stay for another year in order to help the club as best as I could following the transition of winning the title and in the Champions League.
‘However, I am fiercely ambitious and feel that now is the time to move on to a new experience.’