Football

Riyah Mahrez.

Claudio Ranieri says Riyad Mahrez wants to stay at Leicester City

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After their incredible run to the 2015/16 Premier League title, it was inevitable that Leicester City would face a tough task keeping hold of their top players.

So far this summer there have been some successes - convincing Jamie Vardy to turn down Arsenal, and Wes Morgan signing a new deal - and some disappointments - namely N'Golo Kante's £30 million move to Chelsea.

And, last week, it had looked like things were about to get worse for The Foxes when reports claimed Riyad Mahrez had asked his representatives to find him a new club. Tonight, though, Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has offered a very different take on the star midfielder's future.

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""I think everybody here is happy. It's finished, the market has finished," he said, via Sky Sports, after Leicester's 2-1 pre-season win over Oxford United.

When asked specifically about Mahrez, he was categorical in his response:

"Yes, he wants to stay," explained the Italian.

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Ranieri's comments contrast sharply with a report from The Guardian which claimed the Algerian had turned down a new contract offer from Leicester and was actively seeking a move away from the King Power Stadium.

In the days that have followed, a host of big name clubs - including Arsenal, Manchester City and Barcelona - have been linked to his signature and the prospect of him starting the new campaign in Leicester colours appeared slim.

If Ranieri is to be believed, however, then the reigning Premier League champions are convinced that they will be able to keep hold of the man widely touted as their most talented player.

Leicester City v Everton - Premier League

Having scored 17 goals en route to the title and racked up 11 assists, there is no doubt that his loss would be almost impossible for Leicester to replace as the new campaign fast approaches.

Tough task

It will be interesting to see just what happens regarding Mahrez over the next few weeks. What is clear, though, is that he is a wanted man.

While Ranieri appears convinced that the 25-year-old is staying put, as we saw with Chelsea's pursuit of Kante sometimes huge transfer fees can simply prove too hard to turn down.

The Italian manager has previously said that he wouldn't stand in the way of his players if they opted to move on to some of Europe's biggest clubs.

Leicester City fans, therefore, will be hoping that Ranieri's version of events today is more accurate than the reports over the past week or so.

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Topics:
Leicester City
Football
Premier League
Manchester City
Barcelona
Arsenal

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