Wenger rules out Mahrez but hints at more moves by Arsenal

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The Gunners boss insists he has never been close to landing the Leicester winger, but is expecting comings and goings at Emirates Stadium this month

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal were “never close” to doing a deal for Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez, but has hinted at further movement.

While other sides have overseen significant squad overhauls this summer, the Gunners have only brought in Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette - although the latter did cost €60m.

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Mahrez was reported to be among those under consideration, with the Algeria international pushing for a move away from the King Power Stadium.

Wenger, though, says that the 26-year-old has never figured in his recruitment plans as he already has several players on his books of a similar mould.

He said: "We were never close.

"I rate him as a player but we have similar types with Alex Iwobi, Jack Wilshere back, Mesut Ozil - we have plenty of the same type of players."

While ruling out Mahrez, the Frenchman has conceded that there could be comings and goings at Emirates Stadium before the transfer deadline passes on August 31.

Why Arsenal don't want Mahrez

He added: "We are still open.

"But of course at the moment I have currently 33 players and it is very difficult to manage on a daily basis such a high number."

Arsene Wenger Arsenal

Of those to have struck the right balance when it comes to freshening up their ranks this summer, Wenger considers Manchester City to have enjoyed the most “spectacular” window.

Pep Guardiola has splashed out an estimated £217million on the likes of Bernardo Silva, Ederson, Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy.

Wenger believes that kind of investment, with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea having also spent big, will make the 2017-18 campaign his most difficult to date.

"Yes, because look at what City have done," he said.

Opening day indicators for Wenger

"They have been quite spectacular in the transfer market, Manchester United as well. 

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"And it's not finished – Chelsea have bought [Alvaro] Morata and have not lost [Diego] Costa yet, and they will certainly buy more. In the middle of the transfer market it's difficult to predict [the season]. 

"At the moment the most active have been United, City and Liverpool a bit."

Arsenal will kick off the new Premier League season with a home date against Leicester on Friday.

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