Leicester manager Claude Puel insists the Foxes are keen to keep hold of Riyad Mahrez.

Despite speculation that Mahrez could be on his way to Arsenal in January, Puel insists that Leicester are eager to keep hold of the 26-year-old.

“I like this player and I’d like to keep our best players. We will ask him the question, for me I am happy to play with the team with Riyad, with Jamie Vardy and others,” said the Frenchman, who took over from Craig Shakespeare in October 2017.

“You say the word, speculation. I would like to keep all my best players. It was a very good game, a fantastic game for Riyad. It will be important to keep the maximum of our players.”

Mahrez has allegedly been on Arsenal’s radar since 2016 after Leicester won the Premier League title and the winger was named their player of the season. However, he chose to sign a new deal with the Foxes.

mahrez watford december
WATFORD, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 26: Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Premier League match between Watford and Leicester City at Vicarage Road on December 26, 2017 in Watford, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Over the summer, the Gunners were briefly linked again until Leicester reportedly demanded £50m for the Algeria international. Arsenal then turned their attention to Monaco’s Thomas Lemar instead.

Now that Arsenal’s interest in 22-year-old Lemar appears to have cooled down, the club are once again said to be interested in Mahrez.

The winger handed in a transfer request over the summer with Barcelona and Roma also being linked. The Serie A side allegedly made four bids in their pursuit of the 26-year-old but weren’t willing to meet the Foxes’ £40m valuation.

Although Puel’s comments don’t sound as if he’s all that confident in Leicester keeping Mahrez, Arsene Wenger recently flat-out denied any interest in the winger.

With Alexis Sanchez, who has just six months left on his current contract, set to leave north London by the end of the season, Arsenal will continue to be linked with forwards until a replacement is found.

Mahrez has scored eight and assisted eight in 24 appearances this season.