Wednesday 12 December 2018

PFA offers to step in as Riyad Mahrez remains absent from Leicester training

Leicester hope to resolve the issue with Riyad Mahrez, who is yet to return to training, internally.

Leicester City v Watford – Premier League – King Power Stadium
Leicester City v Watford – Premier League – King Power Stadium

By Nick Mashiter, Press Association Sport

The Professional Footballers’ Association is still willing to help Riyad Mahrez and Leicester end their stand-off.

The players’ union is continuing to have a watching brief having offered its assistance in the on-going issue of Mahrez’s absence from training.

Press Association Sport understands a call went in last week and while Leicester acknowledged and valued the PFA’s offer, neither the club nor Mahrez have yet taken them up on the offer.

Coventry City v Cambridge United – Sky Bet League Two – Ricoh Arena

Mahrez missed training again on Tuesday having handed in a transfer request to try to force a deadline day move to Manchester City.

The Foxes travel to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday with Mahrez now expected to miss the game, having sat out the last two matches.

Leicester hope to resolve the issue internally and are prepared to give the Algeria international time to reintegrate back into the squad.

They will hold talks with Mahrez’s representatives but will not rush the former PFA Player of the Year back.

A ‘close friend’ of the 26-year-old has been quoted saying the winger was depressed after the failed move and it has changed the dynamic of discussions.

Leicester need to be cautious with how they deal with the issue surrounding Mahrez’s health.

Mahrez wanted to leave the King Power Stadium last month, handing in another transfer request following an initial one in the summer.

Leicester stood firm on their valuation though and eventually asked Manchester City for £80million cash.

City’s final offer was £50million plus an unnamed player who they valued at £15million.

Philippe Coutinho File Photo

Philippe Coutinho’s £142million move to Barcelona from Liverpool and the fact City had just spent £57million on defender Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao stiffened Leicester’s resolve.

Mahrez also only signed an improved four-year deal in 2016 after helping the Foxes, under Claudio Ranieri, to a shock Premier League title.

He stayed for their Champions League campaign, where they reached the quarter-finals, but now wants to leave.

Leicester City v Everton – Premier League – King Power Stadium

Mahrez has missed the 2-1 defeat to Everton and last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Swansea.

Boss Claude Puel has remained tight-lipped over the saga and hinted he is happy to prepare for games without his star.

He said: “Riyad is not my preoccupation. My preoccupation is about my available players and to keep them in a positive attitude and to continue this good work.

“My only feelings are about my available players and as for Riyad we will see later.”

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