Belfast Telegraph

Foxes boss Craig Shakespeare clears air with want-away midfielder Riyad Mahrez

Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare has cleared the air with Riyad Mahrez following the midfielder's antics on transfer deadline day.

Mahrez took the remarkable step of leaving the Algeria national squad in order to try to force a move away from the King Power Stadium.

The 26-year-old, who submitted a transfer request at the start of the summer, surprised Leicester with the move last week, with the club learning about his intentions via a Tweet from the Algerian FA stating that Mahrez had been given permission to leave their training camp to finalise a move.

Since his return from international duty, Mahrez has met with Shakespeare to explain his actions and the Leicester boss has praised the player for his honesty.

Asked if he knew Mahrez's whereabouts on August 31, Shakespeare said: "I did try to call him but it was an international dialling tone and I wasn't quite sure where he was. I would have suggested he was at an airport somewhere.

"I think the main content of the conversation between me and Riyad will stay private but what I will say is he was very transparent from the word go.

"In the conversations I had with him he said he wanted to play for a top six club. He made that very clear. And I can understand from him and his advisors what they were doing.

"But having talked to him over the last couple of days I am in no doubt of his professionalism and commitment to Leicester."

That was not the only notable drama for Leicester carried over from deadline day as their signing of Adrien Silva continues to hang in the balance, with the club working on a resolution to his future.

It has been a week since Leicester thought they had signed the Portugal midfielder from Sporting Lisbon in a £22million deal but FIFA have refused the player's registration as they did not receive the paperwork in time, with the Foxes missing the deadline by just 14 seconds.

However, Leicester officials are confident the necessary paperwork was sent before the midnight deadline on September 1, having been granted an hour's extension to complete the deal.

Asked if he thought FIFA would overturn their decision and allow Silva to play for Leicester, Shakespeare said: "It's difficult for me to pinpoint and say because I don't know the legal process and I don't know the next step in that process.

"I hope so, and he'd be welcome with open arms. It's a really long process and we all want it resolved.

"He can't even train with us so he's keeping himself fit. His brother is actually a fitness coach and he's over here in Leicester with him."

Silva, 28, will watch from the stands at the King Power Stadium on Saturday as a club guest when Leicester resume their Premier League campaign against Chelsea.

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