Premier League champions Leicester City are desperate to hold on to their star midfielder Riyad Mahrez in the face of interest from Arsenal. Manager Claudio Ranieri has now stated that he believes Mahrez will stay with the Foxes for at least another season.
The Italian manager has recently spoken out about the transfer speculation surrounding the 25-year-old Algerian, telling beIN Sports that he believed Mahrez would ‘100%’ stay with the Premier League champions.
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Ranieri also spoke with Sky Sports, expressing his belief that Mahrez would turn down a move to the Emirates to extend his Leicester stay for at least another season.
“I speak often with him and say stay with us, it’s much better for your future, I think he is an intelligent man and he will stay,” Ranieri told Sky Sports.
“We support him very well, this is important, when you change teams maybe you don’t find team-mates who help you at the same level.
“He improves more if he stays with us for another year, maybe next year he can think about another solution. If he goes for a lot of money, everybody will be expecting something special. He can do something special, but with us.”
The top Premier League clubs are all gunning for Leicester’s most talented players who helped them to an improbable league triumph last season. Chelsea have already snapped up French midfielder N’golo Kante for a reported £30 million, while their London rivals Arsenal were unsuccessful in their pursuit of English striker Jamie Vardy.
The Gunners are now back for another Leicester star and have been strongly linked with a big money move for Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez. The winger was one of the driving forces behind the Foxes’ title charge. Mahrez went on to score 17 goals and registered 11 assists in 36 league appearances for Leicester in 2015/16, winning the PFA Player of the Year award as a result.
Although the profit from a sale would be massive, Mahrez’s current contract runs till 2019 and Leicester have no intention of letting him leave. Ranieri is evidently trying his best to coax the winger to stay, and seems to be confident that he can influence him to snub the overtures of their more glamorous and established Premier League rivals.