Leicester boss Ranieri claims Mahrez is going nowhere, reveals asking Kante to spurn Chelsea
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri is adamant that Riyad Mahrez will not be following N’Golo Kante out of the King Power Stadium, despite reports last week that the Algerian attacker had turned down a much improved new deal.
This past weekend the Guardian reported that Mahrez, who was purchased from Le Havre for a paltry £375,000 in January 2014, and aided the Foxes in their Championship winning push en route to the Premier League, had ordered his representatives to find him a new club.
Although Mahrez had signed a new three year deal roughly 12 months ago, Leicester are said to have offered him a additional contract which would have seen his weekly wage more than doubled – growing from £35k per week to £80k.
However, the recently minted PFA Player of the Year was thought to be unmoved, with Barcelona said to be interested in acquiring his services.
Soon thereafter, Chelsea paid a reputed £30m for Kante, making him the second signing of Antonio Conte’s brief tenure, following Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi.
Ranieri claimed that Mahrez would fulfil his current deal with the Premier League champions.
“Everybody here is happy and, yes, he wants to stay,” the Italian coach said (reported in the Guardian) .
“No other players will go away – we will stay together. The football continues without Riyad or without Kanté but Riyad will stay with us for all of the years. It’s important to maintain the group, with the spirit, with the humility – that’s important for me.”
On the topic of Kante, the former Chelsea boss said that he implored the French midfielder not to depart for Stamford Bridge but understood his reasons for ultimately doing so.
“Only Kanté wanted to go, that’s OK. But I understood him, he came from a little team in France and had a fantastic season. I said to him stay with us and have another year with us but he wanted to go.”
Meanwhile, Steve Walsh, the man who scouted Kante, Mahrez and, indeed, Jamie Vardy, is thought to be taking up the Director of Football post at Everton, but Ranieri remained tight-lipped on the matter.
“I don’t know because I am focused on this match and first I must speak with the sporting director.”
Like Vardy, Captain Wes Morgan committed his future to the club by signing a new three-year deal yesterday.