Claudio Ranieri has insisted that Riyad Mahrez is staying with Leicester City for about the 100th time.
The Foxes’ manager is a passionate man, desperate to keep hold of his star players – I get that. Mahrez was their player of the season last term and now that N’Golo Kante has signed for Chelsea, he really needs to keep the squad who won the Premier League together. However, has he ever heard of the phrase: ‘the lady doth protest too much’?
“It is not a distraction for me,” Ranieri insisted during his Community Shield press conference on Friday.
“I am used to speaking about these things,
“It is important that my players believe in the new moment. It is normal others wants Riyad but we must focus on the job.
“I speak with him a lot and I hope I can help him. The chairman told me at the beginning, when we spoke, that we want to keep everybody.
“Kante had a clause and wanted to go, but the others stay with us.
“He [Mahrez] has a contract – another three years. Why does he have to sign? He has money and everything.
“The players are OK. Now our thought is about the match, not something else. The players worked so hard to achieve this great match at Wembley.”
We get that he doesn’t want to sell Mahrez and I also understand that he’s probably getting asked about this at every turn but he doesn’t have to keep giving a massive speech each time. It makes him actually seem very anxious and not at all as if he really thinks that Leicester will keep hold of the player.
For the record, I don’t believe we’re getting Mahrez but not because Ranieri has said so. I just don’t see a winger in Arsene Wenger’s plans during this window. Also, David Ornstein said we’re not pursuing him and that’s enough for me.
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) August 4, 2016
I do reckon we were interested at one stage and maybe even dipped our toes in the water – Wenger’s expression when asked about him can’t be for nothing – but do I see Mahrez wearing red and white come September? No.