9 August 2017
Leicester City boss, Craig Shakespeare, has said he has no concerns over Riyad Mahrez’s attitude and insists the Algerian remains available for selection this season despite handing in a transfer request earlier this summer.
Mahrez is keen to secure a move away from the King Power Stadium but Leicester are yet to accept a bid for 26-year-old, who was awarded the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award in 2016.
The Foxes face Arsenal in the opening game of the English Premier League season on Friday, and Shakespeare insists Mahrez could feature against the Gunners.
“I have to say he’s been very focused, when I say driven – he hasn’t given me one problem of pulling him to the side and saying, ‘oi, pull your finger out’,” Shakespeare said.
“We know he’s come out and said that he wants to leave. Until we get a bid that is accepted that is reasonable for Leicester then he stays.
“As long as he stays focused, then he will be considered for selection.”
Leicester rejected a bid for Mahrez earlier this summer and Shakespeare insists he is under no pressure to sell his best players.
“We’re a club that doesn’t need to sell, which is vitally important,” he added. “I think we’ve got owners that want to keep their best players.
“The reality is we’re living with the current situation of the transfer window. Every club is living in that reality. We have to deal with it, we don’t want to be a selling club – we want to add what to what we’ve already got.”
Leicester have spent heavily in the summer transfer window, signing the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho, Harry Maguire and Vicente Iborra.
“The Kelechi one… you could have watched the whole boxset of Game of Thrones during the whole saga of it. That’s what it felt like. That’s the industry that we’re in and the reality of it.
“We got some of the other ones over the line early and I think that’s what put a bit of message out, which was good.
“They’ve all settled in and I’ve spoken before about the characters of incoming players – all have impressed me with their characters, as well as their ability.”
“I’m really pleased with what we’ve got and the manner in which we’ve done it,” Shakespeare said.