8 January 2018
Leicester City manager, Claude Puel, wants to keep his two Algerian stars, Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani, at the King Power stadium but not one of his three Nigerian stars, Ahmed Musa, whom he has said could leave in January.
Though Leicester’s record signing Slimani, who cost £29.7m when he arrived from Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2016, has made just two Premier League starts this season, his handler still wants to see him stay at the club longer than January.
With Jamie Vardy out with a groin injury, Slimani was handed the chance to lead the line in Saturday’s 0 – 0 draw against Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup, but he again fell short of the performance expected of a player with his price tag.
“This period is always a difficult period with speculation about different players,” Puel said.
“I am happy with ‘Slim’. We have a lot of strikers and offensive players and we need to have good balance to give them game time.”
Liverpool have been linked with a move for Mahrez as a replacement for Barcelona-bound Philippe Coutinho but Sky sources understand the Reds are not interested in signing him.
That is fine with Puel, who is very pleased with Mahrez’s form – he has scored five goals and registered four assists in his last nine league games – in recent weeks.
One player who could be on the way out of the King Power Stadium is Nigeria international Musa, who failed to earn even a place on the bench against Fleetwood, despite Puel resting a number of starters.
When asked if Musa might go in January, Puel said, “We will see. Perhaps it could be a possibility. We will see with the player and the opportunity for the club also.
“I need to have discussions about some players.”
Turkish outfit Bursaspor have confirmed their interest in the South Africa 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner for a possible loan deal.
Bursaspor’s representative Hasan Parlakay confirmed their interest on Friday.
“Ahmed Musa is a very influential player who will be able to add value and class to us,” Parlakay was quoted by Goal as saying.
“If we are realistic, we cannot buy him.
“But he wants to play with Nigeria in the World Cup. For this you have to keep playing and keep form in the league. We have players in our team from the same national team, (Mikel) Agu and (William) Troost-Ekong.”