Monday 19 March 2018

Claudio Ranieri dashes Arsenal's hopes of signing Riyad Mahrez by insisting he's not for sale

Riyad Mahrez will not be joining Arsenal, insists Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri Getty
Riyad Mahrez will not be joining Arsenal, insists Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri Getty

Mark Ogden

Claudio Ranieri has dashed Arsene Wenger’s hopes of luring Riyad Mahrez to Arsenal by insisting that the Leicester City winger will not be sold by the Premier League champions.

Mahrez, last season’s PFA Player of the Year, remains a prime target for Arsenal, who failed in an attempt to sign Leicester team-mate Jamie Vardy earlier this summer.

Leicester failed to persuade N’Golo Kante to remain at the King Power Stadium following the club’s title triumph, with the France midfielder sealing a move to Chelsea after the Stamford Bridge outfit triggered a release clause in his contract.

But with Leicester preparing to meet FA Cup winners Manchester United in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday, Ranieri insists that he and the club’s Thai owners have made it clear that no more stars will be leaving the club this summer.

“The chairman told me at the beginning, when we spoke, that we want to keep everybody,” Ranieri said. “Kante had a clause and wanted to go, but the others stay with us.

“It is not a distraction for me. I am used to speaking about these things.

“But it is important that my players believe in the new moment. It is normal others want Riyad and other players, but we must focus on the job.

“I speak with him a lot and I hope I can help him.”

With Algeria international Mahrez under contract for a further three years at Leicester, Ranieri insists the club has no reason to offer him a new deal in an attempt to fend off interest from rival clubs.

“He has a contract for another three years,” Ranieri said. “Why does he have to sign? He has money and everything.”

Leicester travel to Wembley after a summer tour which has seen the team play in Glasgow, Los Angeles and Stockholm.

But he insists the squad are now ready to focus on domestic  matters, starring against United.

“The players are ok,” he said. “Now our thought is about the match, not something else, because the players worked so hard to achieve this great match at Wembley.”

Independent News Service

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