Claudio Ranieri jokes he'll throttle Riyad Mahrez if he asks to leave

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Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has stated that star man Riyad Mahrez has not asked to leave the club amid rumours that the Algerian could move to Arsenal.

The charismatic Italian is keen to keep hold of one of his most prized assets, especially after already losing N'Golo Kante to Chelsea, and has issued a warning to the PFA Player of the Year if he ever decides to ask the dreaded question.

According to the Mirror, Ranieri said he would 'throttle' the Foxes star before he could even get the words out of his mouth - dire consequences indeed.


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Arsenal are rumoured to be the party with the most interest in Mahrez but a move may not be possible according to the Leicester manager and the club are preparing to get even more out of their mercurial winger in 2016/17:

"Riyad will stay with us - never has he come and said, 'coach, I want to go'," Ranieri said. "If he said that, I would throttle him!

"He is in good condition, maybe we must pass the ball a little more to him. He is a winger and, if nobody passes the ball to the wingers, I can't pass the ball from the bench."

The 25-year-old, alongside Kante and Jamie Vardy, forged a crucial trident which spearheaded Leicester to the most unlikely Premier League triumph.

The Algerian, who was signed from the Le Havre reserve team, contributed 17 goals and 11 assists in what was a sensational campaign both personally and from a team perspective.

However, with Leicester's relatively small stature as a club combined with the current financial power in football, rumours of Mahrez's exit were always going to surface.

So far, the club have stood firm. Ranieri has remained supportive of his player and the desire he has to remain where he is and this light-hearted threat is yet another show of how keen the Italian is to continue working with the winger.

Kante's exit represents the only dent in the Leicester machine that gripped the nation last season, with top scorer Vardy rejecting an offer to move to Mahrez's potential suitors, Arsenal.

Ranieri's presence at the club has been crucial to the sensational 12 months in the Algerian's career which has seen him evolve into an established household name.

Under the leadership of Nigel Pearson, Mahrez was a fairly unknown entity, a bag of tricks with no end product.

Ranieri transformed him into the game-changing player we see today. Will he remain loyal to his mentor? Well, he may have to, otherwise, a throttling may be coming sooner rather than later.

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