Friday 9 December 2016

Mahrez signs new deal to give Leicester timely boost

John Percy

Published 18/08/2016 | 02:30

Riyad Mahrez has hinted that only
Riyad Mahrez has hinted that only "two or three" clubs could tempt him to leave the English champions. Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Riyad Mahrez has agreed a new £100,000-a-week contract in a huge boost for Premier League champions Leicester City.

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Mahrez, the PFA Player of the Year, has finally ended the uncertainty over his future after signing a new four-year deal following extensive talks with chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha this week.

Earlier yesterday, Srivaddhanaprabha had warned any interested clubs that Mahrez and West Bromwich Albion target Jeffrey Schlupp would not be leaving before the transfer window closes.

And Mahrez has now committed his future to Claudio Ranieri's team, with Leicester reluctant to dismantle their squad further after the £32m sale of N'Golo Kante to Chelsea.

It is also understood that Ghana international Schlupp will be offered fresh terms after at least two bids from Albion were rejected.

Mahrez had admitted only "two or three clubs" could persuade him to leave the King Power Stadium, but Leicester were always relaxed over the speculation regarding their prized asset.

Srivaddhanaprabha had taken the unexpected move of using his Instagram account to post a picture of Mahrez and Schlupp with the words "Both not for sale".

A statement on the club's website yesterday read: "Leicester City Football Club is delighted to announce that Riyad Mahrez has signed a new contract, committing his future to the Foxes until June, 2020."

Mahrez's new deal does not contain a release clause and any offers would have to be well over £50m, with Leicester using the sale of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City as a benchmark in their valuation.

Schlupp also seems certain to stay, despite offers of £9m and £12m from West Brom.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have made their move for the Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly - for what could be a club-record fee of £60m - in an emphatic effort by manager Antonio Conte to strengthen his team.

If Koulibaly signs it will raise question marks over the immediate first-team future of England international Gary Cahill as John Terry's partner at the heart of Chelsea's defence.

Conte could move to a back three if he signs the French-born Senegal international, a formation he favoured with Juventus and Italy.

Meanwhile the FAI board has confirmed that it intends to back Aleksander Ceferin in the race to become the next UEFA President.

The Association moved to back the Head of the Slovenian FA for next month's election, to find a successor to former President Michel Platini.

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