Tag: Riyad Mahrez

Claude Puel: Riyad Mahrez not available against Manchester City

Claude Puel has said Riyad Mahrez will maintain his self-imposed exile not play for Leicester at Manchester City on Saturday.

Mahrez, 26, has not trained or played since a move to the Etihad Stadium fell through on deadline day of the January transfer window.

The Algerian international, who scored 35 goals and contributed 24 assists in 127 top-flight appearances, has handed in a transfer request but the Foxes had refused to hear any interest in the player before the transfer deadline.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Thursday, Puel said that he believes that Mahrez, who he describes as “magnificent” will remain unavailable.

“I think Riyad is not available for Saturday’s game. I hope Riyad can get his head right and come back with us and work hard. The best way is for him to come back and enjoy his football.”

“He is a magnificent player and he enjoys his football. He loves his team-mates, and that’s important. He loves to touch the football but he needs to come back right. I hope he can come back with a good attitude and prepared to work, but he will need time and time to be match-fit.”

“It’s important this remains inside the club and private, not in the public,” Puel added. “The most important thing for me is to keep Riyad and the club and the fans united and in a good way about this. It is important to keep a good feeling together through these difficulties.”

On the other hand, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has suggested that Manchester City would keep tabs on the forward despite Leicester having being ununderstood to have been demanding as much £95m as a bare minimum.

Prediction:

Manchester City 3 – 1 Leicester City

Pep Guardiola: City to keep tabs on Riyad Mahrez availability into summer

Pep Guardiola has suggested that Manchester City will go back in for Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez over the summer after the Premier League leaders missed out on a deal as the deadline passed with January.

Mahrez has spent much of the last two windows attempting to leave the King Power Stadium, with transfer requests being tabled by the want-away 26-year-old.

However, Leicester’s demands and reluctance to sell have seen the unsettled star blocked from heading for the exits, with City being the latest side to have been left frustrated after having mounted a late winter bid to land the 2016 PFA Player of the Year.

Nonetheless, City coach Pep Guardiola believes that his club is prepared to rekindle their interest of the player at the end of the season.

“He’s a Leicester player,” the former Barca and Bayern Munich coach said. “Everybody knows we were trying but we cannot afford, in this moment, this amount of what they are asking. I understand perfectly.”

“We tried to do it in the summertime, we tried to do it now, but like summer, they locked the door. It was not possible. With [Aymeric] Laporte, yes, with the other one, no. We are going to see what happens in the summer.”

City’s interest as the deadline ends led the Foxes star to hand in his latest transfer request, but Leicester refused to budge despite the Manchester’s club willingness to go as high as £65m in their pursuit of another creative influence.

Leicester are understood to have been demanding as much £95m .

As a result of the failed negotiations, no deal was done and Guardiola was unable to bring in cover for Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus during their respective injury-enforced spells on the sidelines.

Ranieri: ET landing more likely than Leicester title defense

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Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri is convinced that it is more likely that “ET comes to Piccadilly Circus” than for his team to successfully defend their Premier League title.

Ranieri was speaking in the buildup to the 2016-17 season’s opening match, the champions’ trip to Hull City on Saturday.

“I work to be safe,” the manager said, repeating a mantra he used last season even when his Foxes were on top of the league table.

“I say to my fans: ‘We want to be safe, to build a team, anything more and that’s fantastic.’ It’s not normal that we can win the league. It’s more difficult than last season. It’s easier that ET comes to Piccadilly Circus.”

Ranieri, 64, also joked that the bookmakers should set longer odds for his team this time around than the famous 5,000-1 odds offered last year. He had his trademark humble mannerisms intact as he predicts that the big clubs will soon return to form and that his side’s first ambition is to avoid relegation.

“I think the bookies have to pay 6,000-1 now,” he said.

“We are ready to defend our title but we know it is a different gap. The big teams will be back, I am sure. They can’t make the same mistake for another year. They lost one season in the life of a big team. There are five, six teams who can win it this year. It will be a good fight.”

He also said Riyad Mahrez would be staying, joking that he would kill the Algerian before letting him leave.

Mahrez, who had been a key part to Leicester’s title-winning season, has been the subject of constant transfer speculation in this summer’s transfer window.

“Could you tell me who is interested in him?” he asked when the subject was raised. “No, not Arsenal. We’ve had no bids. I think it’s not a problem.”

“It’s a process to improve his career. The Champions League is very different to the Premier League and he can improve with us. Riyad stays with us. Never never never has he come to me and said ‘I want to go’ because I’d kill him before he does.”

At this point Ranieri comedically mimed strangling Mahrez. “He’s a lucky man,” he said.