Craig Shakespeare has warned Riyad Mahrez to be “professional” or face being frozen out, after the winger informed Leicester he wants to leave.
Shakespeare is set to have face-to-face talks with Mahrez next week, with the £50 million-rated Algerian’s future at the King Power Stadium still uncertain. Mahrez has revealed he wants to pursue a new challenge this season but Leicester’s price tag is proving a hurdle to interested clubs, including Arsenal, who have held preliminary discussions over a possible deal. The former PFA Player of the Year returned to training on Friday and is expected to meet with Shakespeare in the next few days for talks over the club’s position.
“He has to be professional. We have to be professional with him but more importantly he has to be committed and I think he has to show supporters, staff and players that,” said Shakespeare. “If he’s selected he has to perform and if he doesn’t show commitment he won’t play. He’s got a contract with us, so he has to understand that. “We haven’t had any bids and if we don’t have one, we’ve got no decision to make. The decision making comes when we have a bid and we can assess that when it happens. “Knowing him as I do, I think Riyad was just trying to be as honest as he can. Of course it can disappoint the fans but I need to really sit down with him one-to-one and see where he’s at, in his head and how he feels.” Mahrez will fly out with the squad to Austria on Sunday and is also participating in the Premier League Asia Trophy in Hong Kong later this month
Gunners Unwilling To Meet Leicester’s Ridiculous Demand
Arsenal are reportedly prepared to spend no more than £35 million on Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, leaving them well short of the Foxes’ £50 million price tag. According to MailOnline’s Amitai Winehouse, Mahrez has been left in “transfer limbo” as a result, with the two clubs thus far failing to reach an agreement after holding talks. It is believed Leicester will let the Algerian depart the King Power Stadium this summer after he turned down Barcelona and others to stay on for a year following their sensational Premier League title win in 2016.
The winger was named PFA Player of the Year for his efforts in helping the Foxes complete their fairytale win, but like his team-mates, he failed to achieve the same levels last year. He finished the campaign with 10 goals—four of which came in the UEFA Champions League—and seven assists in all competitions. As such, it’s understandable Arsenal believe his value has dropped and £50 million is an excessive amount to demand, particularly after the less-than-spectacular season he just had. However, he remains one of Leicester’s most important players so it’s to be expected they want as much as possible for him.
He could make for a strong signing at Arsenal even after last year, though. The 26-year-old is a cut above those around him at Leicester, and he could shine alongside the superior team-mates he would have with the Gunners. His technical ability is worthy of a place in their squad, and few can handle him when he’s running at defences with the ball at his feet looking to create or go for goal himself.