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Riyad Mahrez refuses to rule out leaving Leicester in the summer

Mahrez went AWOL after his proposed transfer to Premier League leaders Manchester City collapsed in January.

Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez has refused to rule out a move away from Leicester in the summer but insists he is happy for now at the King Power Stadium.

The 27-year-old did not train for 10 days and missed two matches after his proposed transfer to Premier League leaders Manchester City collapsed in January.

Asked about what would happen when the transfer window opened again in the summer, Mahrez declined to commit his future to the Foxes.

He said in an interview with Sky Sports News: “I don’t want to want to talk about this, because first it will bring more rumours and more talk, and second we are very far away from this transfer window. My mind, focus is on Leicester, that’s all I’m focused on.

“In football players come, players leave. I’m not saying I’m going to leave, I’m going to go. Everything is very good. We will see in the summer if something comes, but at the moment I’m a Leicester City player and I’m good here.”

Mahrez insisted he faced no hostility from his team-mates following his failed move to City and is now firmly back in the Leicester fold.

And the Algeria international says the saga has not caused any tension within the club, even if he declined to confirm he would not seek another move in the summer.

He added: “I was away from here because I needed some time to think. We’ve moved on now. Everyone to be honest has been very good and it’s the past now.

“It was difficult but I spoke with the players, I spoke with the manager, I spoke with everyone. Everyone was OK, was good. Now it’s the past, it’s behind me.”

Mahrez added: “Manchester City is a good move for everyone, but it’s the past. I really don’t want to talk about this, because it’s behind me. If we start talking about this it’s like coming back to this transfer window and now I’m looking forward and trying to give my best for the team and that’s the most important.”

Asked if he had any regrets about how he handled the situation, he said: “You always have regrets, but at the time I thought it was the best thing to do. I have always been in contact with the club. The club handled it very well.

Mahrez (second left) was a target for Manchester City in January

“I’ve been with these team-mates for four years now. They know me very well. We had some discussions and we moved on.”

Mahrez also brushed off the hoax retirement announcement posted on his Facebook page this week.

Mahrez said: “I wasn’t bothered. It won’t affect me, so I don’t know why they try to do that. I think everyone knew it had been hacked.”

Leicester boss Claude Puel said it was “not a good thing” to contemplate the prospect of Mahrez leaving in the summer.

Claude Puel is keen to keep Mahrez

Talking about his player’s failed January move, Puel said at a press conference: “It is always a difficult situation to manage for the player and staff and club.

“It is important to start and finish the season with the club, this is the most important thing.

“His contract with Leicester is good and we will see in the summer. It is not a good thing to think about.

“But it is not like this just for Riyad, it’s the same for any player in the Premier League as they can also be approached.”

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph