Wantaway Ulloa hurt by Ranieri's transfer 'betrayal'

Leicester striker Leonardo Ulloa has been vocal about his demands to leave, with Premier League strugglers Sunderland among his suitors.
Leicester striker Leonardo Ulloa has been vocal about his demands to leave, with Premier League strugglers Sunderland among his suitors.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Leonardo Ulloa has threatened to go on strike at Leicester City and accused manager Claudio Ranieri of betraying him after the Premier League champions rejected an improved offer from Sunderland for the Argentinian striker.

Ulloa, who has handed in a transfer request, took to Twitter on Monday to express his outrage after a bid from Sunderland - believed to be upwards of £5 million (S$8.8 million) - was turned down. It is understood that the champions turned down an improved bid of £8 million from Sunderland yesterday.

"I feel betrayed by Ranieri and let down by the club. I will not play again for them," he tweeted.

That public reaction has gone down badly at Leicester and could lead to disciplinary action. For the moment, however, Leicester are focusing all their attention on the transfer window and have no intention of allowing Ulloa to force a move.

Leicester's message is that they will not sell the striker to a Premier League rival under any circumstances, and Sunderland - bottom of the table ahead of their match against Tottenham Hotspur this morning (Singapore time) - come into that category. Before that clash, David Moyes' side were only six points below Leicester.

Ulloa - scorer of six goals in the Foxes' title-winning campaign last season - has netted just once in 12 games this season but Ranieri is eager to hold on to a player whose aerial threat up front provides the manager's only alternative to Islam Slimani. Whether that stance would soften if a club from overseas matched Leicester's valuation for the player remains to be seen.

La Liga side Alaves, had a £1.7 million bid knocked back earlier in the window. Ulloa feels badly let down by Ranieri and Leicester, although whether he would carry through his threat not to play for the club again remains to be seen.

He has a thigh problem, ruling him out of Leicester's match at Burnley this morning (Singapore time).

Asked about Ulloa's situation before the player's latest tweet, Ranieri said: "I know he is very, very anxious but we don't change our mind. For us it's important. We don't want to sell him. Also I don't want to because I have just Slimani as a target man and I need another target man.

"I want Leo here and I hope he can be calm and understand my position. Of course he's not happy and I understand him. The club know my idea very well and also Leo knows very well my idea. He is a fantastic player, a fantastic man and I believe in him."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2017, with the headline 'Wantaway Ulloa hurt by Ranieri's transfer 'betrayal''. Print Edition | Subscribe