'Upset' Mahrez in no frame of mind to play

LONDON • Riyad Mahrez will not play in Leicester's Premier League match against Swansea today after missing training for a fourth consecutive day.

Leicester manager Claude Puel admitted in his press conference yesterday that the club will have to deal with the damaging fallout from Manchester City's failed attempt to sign the winger on Wednesday's transfer deadline day.

Mahrez is bitterly upset that he missed out on a move to City after Leicester rejected an offer worth around £65 million (S$121.5 million) for him and demanded a fee in the region of £80 million.

It is understood that the 26-year-old Algeria international is feeling so low that he is not in the right frame of mind to play.

Puel said: "The club took the decision for the best interest of Leicester, we need to respect this decision. The position with Riyad, we will assess. It is important to move on and to keep our focus on the pitch. I hope Riyad can clear his head, and come back with us.

"We need to stay united after all this, it is a situation we need to manage but other things will stay inside the club."

Reintegrating Mahrez into the squad will be a challenge for Puel, with reports that Leicester players are unhappy with their team-mate for submitting a transfer request and trying to force a move to City.

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    Goals Riyad Mahrez has been involved in this season, scoring eight times and creating seven goals.

The unavailability of one of their biggest threats - Mahrez has eight goals and a club-high seven assists in the league this season - at home today could hardly have come at a worse time for Leicester.

The Foxes just trimmed their squad, allowing Islam Slimani, Leonardo Ulloa and Andy King to go out on loan. Only Jamie Vardy (11) has scored more goals than Mahrez this term.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 03, 2018, with the headline ''Upset' Mahrez in no frame of mind to play'. Print Edition | Subscribe