Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri is “confident” star winger Riyad Mahrez will not leave the Premier League champions this summer.
Mahrez, who was named the PFA Player of the Season last campaign, has reportedly received interest from Arsenal, with some outlets claiming he’s agreed to a deal with the Emirates club.
Speaking to reporters after Leicester’s friendly defeat of Celtic on Saturday, the former Chelsea and Juventus boss expressed his certainty that the Algeria international would remain at the King Power stadium this season.
“I’m confident, of course,” Ranieri said, when asked if he believed Mahrez would stay.
“We know very well there are other teams who must win the Premier League. We just have to defend it.
“I changed him at last because I said ‘okay, his job is done, it’s better to avoid injury.’
“I’m very happy, we have a very good dressing room. The players who came in are very good.”
Mahrez scored his side’s lone goal in the friendly victory at Parkhead with a fine dribble and curled shot into the far corner, impressing Foxes captain Wes Morgan.
“That’s what he’s all about, he can score something out of nothing,” said Morgan. “He did that today, it was a great goal and his performance was good today.”
Ranieri’s side ultimately needed penalties on the day, but he praised his side’s performance in their first of three International Champions Cup matches, which will also include dates with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.
“I’m super happy, we played against a team ahead of us [in preparation]and I didn’t see a difference,” he said. “We’re on the right way for our fitness, our preparation.
“We were so concentrated, had good shape, I’m very happy. Now we have to think about international matches — Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain play in different styles.
“My players have come back with the same mentality.”