Manchester United interested in £50m Riyad Mahrez to fill winger void

Nick Howson

Manchester United could stage a shock move for Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez in the twilight of the summer transfer window after reports in France suggested the Premier League leaders could come to the Algeria international's rescue. Mahrez has submitted a transfer request in an effort to force a move away from the King Power Stadium but the Foxes' valuation has left him frustrated and delayed his departure.

Both Arsenal and Roma have been priced out of a move for the 26-year-old, with the 2015-16 English champions holding out for £50m, according to The Evening Standard, and under no pressure to sell. Manager Craig Shakespeare confirmed last week that no further interest had been lodged, with Mahrez destined to remain in the east Midlands at least until January.

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But French television channel SFR Sport has suggested that Jose Mourinho is interested in making a last gasp attempt to bring Mahrez to Old Trafford to satisfy his desire to sign a new wide man. Moves for Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic and Real Madrid's Gareth Bale have failed this summer but despite making four additions United could be set to involve themselves in the drama of deadline day.

The major stumbling block for Mourinho could be convincing the sceptical United hierarchy that Mahrez is worth the investment. After winning the PFA Players' Player of the Year award having guided Leicester to the title in just his second season in the Premier League, Mahrez endured a poor campaign last term as the club flirted with relegation.

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He scored just six goals and made four assists in 36 top flight appearances and was among those criticised for failing to reach the heights of the previous campaign. The former La Havre winger has however earned praise for his displays during the early part of this term, having played every minute of Leicester's season - including in the 2-0 weekend defeat to United - despite making public his desire to leave.

Mourinho has made little secret of his wish to improve his options in wide positions, despite Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial both enjoying encouraging starts to the season. Perisic has seemingly U-turned on his intention to join United and looks set to sign a new contract with Inter, while Bale has started both of Real's opening two La Liga games in a strong indication he will be involved in Zinedine Zidane's plans.

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United have made four signings this summer in the form of Victor Lindelof, Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has re-joined the club after initially being released following a season-ending knee injury. The ex-Sweden captain is not expected to feature much before the festive period as he continues to recuperate at the club's Carrington training ground.

Riyad Mahrez

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