Saturday 16 December 2017

'We're only sure of death' - Claudio Ranieri on whether Riyad Mahrez will honour new deal

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has said that Riyad Mahrez.
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has said that Riyad Mahrez.

Tom Rooney

Beloved for a genial candour when addressing the media, Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri assumed an oddly existential position after being asked if he believed Riyad Mahrez would see out his new four-deal at the King Power Stadium.

It was only natural that a cadre of the largely unheralded players who spearheaded Leicester’s outrageous title winning tilt last term would attract the attention of the more established elite.

Jamie Vardy was courted by Arsenal but soon thereafter committed his future to the club, as did Kasper Smeichel, Wes Morgan, Danny Drinkwater and Ranieri.

N’Golo Kante was sold to Chelsea for roughly £30m, while an array of other sides were said to be pursuing Mahrez.

He initially turned down an improved contract, which fortified rumours the Algerian was set to depart for Arsenal, Chelsea or Barcelona. However, in the end, last season’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year penned a new four-year deal.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash with Arsenal, who accounted for two of Leicester’s three league defeats last season, Ranieri gave a notably philosophical response when asked by Nick Mashiter of the Press Association  if he thought that Mahrez would be a Foxes’ player for as long his new contract dictates.

"We are sure only of death. sooner or later I will die, it's normal. Also you, you can die. Remember sometime, it's good," he said.

Referencing the certainty of death doesn't feel befitting of a Friday afternoon, perhaps last weekend’s defeat to a ramshackle Hull City has darkened the Italian’s mood.

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