Take it with a pinch of salt!

Claudio Ranieri is confident that star man Riyad Mahrez will stay at Leicester City and he even accidentally makes a hilarious joke.

The Algerian has been linked with big money moves to Arsenal and Barcelona among others and is yet to sign a bumper new deal.

With the Gooners going mad over the lack of a forward signing this summer, one player who has been heavily linked to the North Londoners – Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez – only a few days ago was at the centre of rumours that he might be on his way to Chelsea.

But The Foxes boss revealed he has special reason to believe that the PFA Player of the Year will be going nowhere – murder!

Ranieri said: “Never, never, never, has Riyad come to me and said ‘Coach, I want to go’.

“Maybe the reason for that is I would kill him. I would throttle him. He’s a lucky man!

“It’s not a problem having all this speculation about Riyad. It’s a process you go through when you are playing well.

“When there is all this attention around you, it is because you are doing well.

“He actually needs to feel that there are other teams and other managers who want him.”

Only yesterday there were some conflicting reports that Mahrez has finally accepted he is likely to stay with The Foxes this season.

The Guardian claimed the Algerian’s representatives met with club officials yesterday.

Mahrez was instrumental in helping Leicester to a shock Premier League title win, scoring 17 goals and providing 10 assists for his team-mates.

The 25-year-old recently rejected a new £80,000-a-week contract offer from the Foxes in the hope of forcing a move.

But after selling N’Golo Kante to Chelsea and tying down Jamie Vardy, the champions have made it clear to Mahrez, he will not be allowed to leave.

Director of football, Jon Rudkin, met his agent yesterday to make the club’s stance clear as the new season approaches.

Leicester are concerned if they were to let Mahrez leave they wouldn’t have time to find a suitable replacement so close to the end of the transfer window.

Arsenal have reportedly offered £35m for the Algerian but the Foxes are determined to keep hold of their star man.

Claudio Ranieri’s men start the new Premier League campaign when they face Hull on Saturday lunchtime.


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