Mahrez will stay with us, says Ranieri


The club’s vice-chairman has echoed that stance by revealing Mahrez has told him he wants to commit to the Premier League champions next season.

Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, known as Top, said he talked to the 25-year-old amid interest from a host of clubs including Barcelona and Arsenal but was reassured. ‘I said, “Are you concerned?” He said, “No, no, I want to stay”.

‘I understand the fans. I can’t say, “He will stay” because at the end of the day it depends on the players and the clubs who want them. But we have no policy to sell the players and we don’t have a problem with money.’

Ranieri added: ‘I am confident 99 per cent he stays.’

Top was responding to claims by Mahrez’s agent that he could leave, with ‘interest from the UK and overseas’.

Kamel Bengougam said: ‘I’d say it’s 50/50 at the moment whether he stays or goes.They will play in the Champions League next year so he would be happy to stay. But at his age, if the opportunity comes to play for a big team then we would have to think about it.’

Top, son of owner Vichai, said Leicester’s future and fanbase should hold sway with players. ‘Next year we are going to play in the Champions League,’ he said. ‘They can see how good the fans are here and they can see how many players moved and failed.’

A new contract for Mahrez is likely to be discussed, along with fresh terms for N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater, while Wes Morgan and Danny Simpson have one year left in the summer.

‘We have to wait until the end of the season and evaluate everyone,’ said Top. ‘I am super fair and happy to improve if they deserve something. It depends on how Wes lifts the trophy!

‘We will try everything that we can to build the team and to secure the same group of players and add some quality.’

Top admitted he had to reprimand Jamie Vardy in the early months of his Leicester career because of excessive boozing as he struggled to adjust to moving from non-League.

‘It was a long time ago, soon after we signed him,’ he revealed. ‘I said, “You have to improve”. I knew he could be a better player than that. He told me he would play for England the day he signed. I said, “Come on Vards!” He said, “Yes, you will see”.’

Vardy, who had a new tattoo hours before his team’s title success was sealed by Tottenham’s draw at Chelsea, will be back from suspension for Leicester’s game against Everton tomorrow, but Robert Huth is banned for three games after pulling Marouane Fellaini’s hair in Sunday’s Old Trafford match.Leicester are expected to give free champagne to supporters, and opera star Andrea Bocelli will sing before the match.

Daily Mail

Original source: Mahrez will stay with us, says Ranieri