Riyad Mahrez’s future at Leicester City continues to be in doubt and now a former Arsenal defender has weighed in on the debate, questioning how essential the Algerian’s presence would be at the Emirates Stadium.
In an interview with the Evening Standard , Lauren, who played under Arsene Wenger between 2000 and 2007, as well as being a part of the “Invincibles” unbeaten title-winning side in 2003 – 2004, was frank in his assessment of Mahrez.
Lauren was not dismissing of the player’s abilities but more so questioning the relevance of adding yet another creative player to the collection of players at the club.
“He is a very good player, but how many similar players in terms of technically proficient, creative midfielders and widemen do Arsenal have already? They have Mesut Ozil, they have Jack Wilshere, they have Aaron Ramsey, they have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, they have Theo Walcott – Arsenal don’t need Mahrez.”
“Arsenal have always had dynamic players – but they need to change that style a little bit, maybe be a little more direct, with more aggressiveness, and determination – which means players with a different style than Mahrez can offer.”
How much weight Lauren’s comments carry is not of real relevance. It is unlikely Wenger is going to be swayed merely by one former players opinion. What is more pertinent is whether Wenger carries similar views.
Meanwhile Wenger appears to be strongly considering bringing Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez on his sides pre-season trip to Scandinavia this weekend based on reports in the Telegraph. Chile and Wales, respectively, both gained from their endeavours this summer and the players returned to training this week.
The Scandinavian tour will take in games with Kjell Jonevret’s Viking FK side at the Viking Stadion in Stavanger, Norway on Friday evening. This pre-empts a meeting with Premier League rivals Manchester City in the Swedish city, Gothenburg. The 44,000-capacity Ullevi Stadium will be looking to sell-out for the meeting of the two English sides.
Wenger spoke in June of the significance of such games: “Pre-season is a very important time for the team and our trips to the United States and then Scandinavia give us a good mixture of games to get ready for the new campaign.
“On a personal note, I am happy that we are returning to Norway and Sweden for the first time in a while because we have some fantastic support in both countries. Many supporters travel all the way to London to watch us play so it will be good to be able come to them this time and hopefully put in two good performances.”
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