Leicester to hold talks with Riyad Mahrez about his reintegration following breakdown of Manchester City move

Claude Puel was speaking after Leicester lost to Everton on Wednesday night

Timothy Abraham
Goodison Park
Thursday 01 February 2018 00:12
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Mahrez will stay at Leicester until at least the summer
Mahrez will stay at Leicester until at least the summer

Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez will hold talks with manager Claude Puel later this week about his reintegration into the Foxes’ squad following the collapse of his move to Manchester City.

The Algeria international handed in a transfer request in a bid to force through a move to the Etihad Stadium. However, City and Leicester could not agree a price for the player with a considerable difference between their respective valuations of the 26-year-old.

Leicester demanded a player-plus-cash deal valued at a £95m with City not prepared to go above £60m.

Mahrez did not travel to Merseyside with Leicester’s squad for their 2-1 loss at Everton on Wednesday, and Puel would not confirm whether Mahrez would be in his squad for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Swansea at the King Power Stadium.

But the Frenchman revealed he will speak to Mahrez later this week with no grudges held from his side.

“We know the situation and we can understand his reaction of course. It’s a difficult situation for Riyad, for the club,” he said. “We will see at the last moment the same thing about City. I think it was harsh for us. It was difficult also for Riyad. We have to understand all parts. For me for, for the squad, for the player.

“We will accept all of the decision. It was a decision between the two clubs. But of course I have confidence about the owner to take a own decision about Riyad for the future. And after we will see with Riyad when he can come back with us. All of the players and the staff will help him to come back with a smile and to enjoy his football.

“Because he is a good player, fantastic, a good man and he likes football. But of course, for the moment I need to speak with Riyad, because a lot has happened.”

Puel believes Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola only decided to pursue a move for Mahrez when it became clear that Germany international Leroy Sane would face a spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

“I think it’s difficult because the first relation with Riyad was I think it was before the injury of the player. Of their player,” said the Foxes boss. “That it was just at the end of the end of the transfer window. It was difficult to accept. I was sorry to accept the decision. We will see when we can manage the future of this.”

Puel would not divulge whether it was his decision or Mahrez’s not to play against Everton, but he insists the Algerian’s team-mates will not have any antipathy towards him despite his desire to leave the East Midlands club.

“We didn’t look for some excuses about the result. We wanted to give good a response together it was not a good result,” he added. “I don’t go into details between our relationship. We have a good relationship. I think it was not available today to play with the team. Just we know there were a deal between two clubs and Riyad is with us now.

“I think they know it would be difficult sometimes for Riyad. We have a fantastic group and a fantastic squad. All of the players have a fantastic relationship between themselves. All the players will give their best for Riyad.”

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