Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has revealed that the persistent rumours surrounding the future of Riyad Mahrez is affecting the player.
Following the stunning form he showed us to lead The Foxes to a first Premier League title, the PFA Player of the Year is heavily linked with a move to the Gunners.
Every day the destination of where he’ll be playing football this season seems to change, and the uncertainty of his future is causing distractions in the squad.
That’s nothing new to Leicester though, who had to endure a four-week period of not knowing whether Jamie Vardy would continue to play at the King Power Stadium following a £22m bid from Arsenal.
Things were sorted early on in the transfer window though, but as the new campaign edges closer Ranieri believes his star man is feeling the effects of the media’s endless pressure.
Maybe Riyad is distracted a bit by all of these rumours and speculation.
But that is also an experience for my players. It is important that he understands that he should stay with us.
He has to improve his fitness and play for the team as well as last season.
Ranieri himself doesn’t sound as confident on the chances of the Algerian international sticking around, and it’s difficult to compare his situation to Vardy.
With offers from Arsenal reportedly on the table, Mahrez has the chance to play at a club that will most likely be playing Champions League football whilst he enters his peak years.
N’golo Kante was the first big name out of the exit door after sealing a switch to Chelsea, and ultimately this deal will come down to the wants and needs of Mahrez himself.
Due to the release clause in his current contract the winger, who earns just £40,000 a week at Leicester, could demand a move to the Emirates with Ranieri powerless to stopping him.
This is certainly a deal that hasn’t lost its drama; Arsene Wenger was in attendance as Leicester left the pitch as 4-0 losers to PSG in the International Champions Cup.
The Gunners boss admitted to Bein Sports that he was there to check up on the team he’ll face on matchweek two of the Premier League, but we’re not that easily fooled Mr. Wenger…