Monday 9 December 2019

Mahrez facing £200k Foxes fine for refusing to train after City move collapses

Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

John Percy

Riyad Mahrez is facing a £200,000 (€228,000) fine after refusing to attend training at Leicester yesterday.

Mahrez infuriated club officials by failing to report for training, as the fallout from his collapsed move to Manchester City threatened to become even messier.

Leicester are considering fining the winger two weeks' wages after he missed a third successive day of training, with manager Claude Puel set to leave him out of the squad for tomorrow's game against Swansea.

Puel faces a huge task to reintegrate the 26-year-old into his team, though it raises the tantalising prospect of Mahrez making his return a week tomorrow at the Etihad Stadium if his attitude markedly improves.

Manchester City aborted their bid for the Algeria international on deadline day after refusing to pay more than £60m (€68m) for him.

It has emerged that winger Patrick Roberts - halfway through another season's loan at Celtic - was the player who Leicester suggested as a potential makeweight in the deal, when talks were advanced.

But Pep Guardiola had no interest in selling Roberts, with a decision on his future likely this summer, dealing another blow to Manchester City's attempt to sign Mahrez.

Leicester have insisted they were prepared to accept a straight cash deal of £80m (€91m) for the 2016 PFA Player of the Year, insisting that figure represents his market value.

The club's owners believe that fee is a sensible one, following a January window in which Barcelona paid Liverpool £142m (€161m) for Philippe Coutinho.

City's board were reluctant to pay more than £60m (€68m) - with Roberts valued at £15m (€17m) - and pulled out of negotiations on Wednesday afternoon, about six hours before the window closed.

Mahrez is now effectively on strike, having failed to show up for a scheduled training session yesterday, less than 24 hours after his team-mates suffered a 2-1 defeat at Everton.

Puel will address the issue today at his pre-match press conference but it is thought highly unlikely that Mahrez will be involved this weekend.

Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil has signed a new three-and-a-half year contract at Arsenal.

The 29-year-old World Cup winner shared a photo of himself signing the contract with manager Arsene Wenger.

"It's been one of the most important decisions of my footballing career and that's why I had to think hard and talk with everyone who's important to me," said Ozil. "Good things take time! In the end I let my heart decide."

The signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is understood to have been a factor in Ozil's decision, but money was also a factor.

Arsenal offered Ozil more than any rival and his new deal will see the German become the highest paid player in the club's history on £350,000 (€399,000) a week.

Ozil joined Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2013, arriving for what was then a club-record transfer fee of just over £42m.

Elsewhere, the English FA's investigation into claims of racist abuse made by Everton's Mason Holgate against Liverpool's Roberto Firmino is set to continue into a fifth week.

Holgate and Firmino have both given their version of events when they clashed during the FA Cup tie between the clubs at Anfield on January 5, with the FA determined to be as thorough as possible before deciding whether any charges should be brought.

The Everton defender made his complaint immediately after the game to referee Bobby Madley. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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