Leicester boss Puel: ‘Good man’ Mahrez will be welcomed back by team-mates
Mahrez’s dream move to the Etihad Stadium fell through on transfer deadline day.
Leicester manager Claude Puel has offered an olive branch to Riyad Mahrez and thinks the wantaway midfielder will be accepted back into the squad.
Mahrez will not play for Leicester against Swansea on Saturday as he “clears his head”, with his return to the group set to be carefully managed by the Premier League club.
The 26-year-old Algerian saw a move to Manchester City fall through on Wednesday, the final day of the transfer window. He was supposed to be part of the squad that played Everton that evening but failed to show up and did not travel to Merseyside.
Mahrez has not trained for Puel’s side since seeing his hopes of a dream move dashed.
Manchester City pulled out of the deal as they were unwilling to match the Foxes’ valuation of the player, which Press Association Sport understands to be £80million, so Mahrez, who has two and a half years remaining on his contract, will remain at the King Power Stadium at least until the end of the season.
And Puel has described Mahrez as a “good man”, and thinks his team-mates will show him there is a way back.
“After some time, he will come back with us,” the Frenchman said. “He is our friend and I think all the staff and all the players will help him to come back with a good mentality and a positive attitude and to enjoy his football with his team-mates.
“Riyad is a good player but he is a good man also. I respect him. It’s important to manage this with calm inside the club.
“We have a good relationship. (On Friday morning) I have seen my players with a good focus and with smiles and enjoying their training session. I hope there is a good solution.
“All the staff, especially all the squad, they are his friends. Of course, no problem when he will come back with us, with a good feeling for all the people.”