Riyad Mahrez will miss a third game for Leicester when Claude Puel’s side goes away to visit Manchester City.
The Algerian after a failed transfer has not been seen in training and was also not around yesterday. It was stated that he might not be around for the rest of the week.
Puel is training for the match at the Etihad without Mahrez in mind and that might actually run for sometime till the 26-year-old has a change of heart and turns up at Belvoir Drive. The Frenchman usually has his side finalised 48 hours in advance of a game.
Mahrez has now missed two Premier League matches and four training sessions in trying to force a transfer to City and then becoming disillusioned with its collapse.
City offered a deal worth £65million but Leicester wanted upwards of £80m and had little time to find and finance a replacement. It is possible Pep Guardiola will sanction a sumer bid but it is far from assured, while the prospect of Mahrez playing in front of City’s manager this weekend now appears extremely remote.
Leicester officials are attempting to mediate for a return but the former PFA Player of the Year is said to be in a fragile state of mind and the situation is being handled delicately. It is believed the club’s hierarchy may have granted Mahrez time away following deadline day. The PFA have offered their assistance.
City offered a deal worth £65million but Leicester wanted upwards of £80m in JanuaryThe matter is becoming unsettling for the club, and there is no guarantee Mahrez will return for the FA Cup tie against Sheffield United a week on Friday. The rest of Leicester’s squad returned to training yesterday morning having been given Monday off following the 1-1 draw with Swansea.
Puel was unable to pick Mahrez for that game at the King Power Stadium, as well as the deadline day trip to Everton, and the Leicester manager gave an indication of the depth of feeling by admitting he did not know when the winger would be back.
‘I expect nothing,’ said Puel on Saturday. ‘The most important thing is not to think about one player but to think about my team and my squad.’