Claudio Ranieri branded Arsenal target Riyad Mahrez as Leicester City’s only champion during an interview with ESPN, in a desperate attempt to keep the alleged wantaway midfielder at King Power Stadium next season.

The 25-year-old midfielder has been linked with an Emirates Stadium switch all summer. The rumours have picked up more momentum, with reports suggesting the Leicester head honchos met in Los Angeles to discuss the player’s future. In addition, English tabloid Metro validated the links as they pointed out his absence in Leicester’s team picture.

Pre-season friendly, Arsenal v Lens

Kick-off: Fri 22nd Jul 19.00 Venue: Stade Bollaert-Delelis

Arsenal begin pre-season preparations as they travel to the north of France for the friendly match against the Ligue 2 side RC Lens.

Olivier Giroud’s agent, Michael Manuello, on Monday, branded reports linking the striker with a summer switch to Napoli as untrue.

Giroud had been rumoured to be involved in a cash-plus-player bid to lure €97 million-rated Gonzalo Higuain to Arsenal, but his agent, whilst speaking to TuttoMercatoWeb, claimed that he and Giroud had not mulled over a move away from Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal wrapped up the signing of Granit Xhaka early before bringing down a Japanese international striker in Takuma Asano.

Manolas

With Arsenal rumoured to bring down a top-class defender besides a striker, it appeared as though Kostas Manolas could be the defender joining the Arsenal ranks as he has been linked with them since 2014.

However, Roma president James Pallotta has all but confirmed that he would not depart the Stadio Olimpico club (via Coral Barry of Metro) this summer, hinting that the Greek defender, who is valued at around £38m, would have a role to play in their Champions League campaign next season.

Manchester City could complete a move for Arsenal's first-choice right-back Hector Bellerin this summer, Mundo Deportivo reports.

Dani Gil of Mundo Deportivo alleges that the Citizens are currently "the highest bidders" for the player, who is valued at around £43m. His agent, Albert Botines, has already flown to England to discuss with the defender the idea of moving to another English top-flight club.