Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri admits reports linking Riyad Mahrez with a move to Manchester United could initially affect the player but has no long-term concerns over the transfer speculation. The 24-year-old has been one of the players of the season so far, scoring seven goals and laying on five assists during the Foxes' sublime start to the 2015-16 campaign.
The Algeria international's thrilling performances have inevitably seen him attract the interest of the Premier League's elite, with the Daily Mail claiming United manager Louis van Gaal has instructed his scouts to keep tabs on the winger. But Ranieri is unconcerned by the mounting speculation and is happy the winger and Jamie Vardy, who has also been instrumental in Leicester's season with 11 goals to his name, are attracting attention for all the right reasons.
"It's good because that means we have very good players. One week it's Vardy, the next week it's Mahrez but it is only speculation," Ranieri told a press conference, Sky Sports reports. "Riyad is very happy with us. He signed a new contract and the same with Jamie. It could affect him [Mahrez] at the beginning but he is intelligent. It's normal when players grow up, they hear about big clubs interested in them.
"Riyad is young, he can improve, but we are very happy with Jamie and Riyad. We play good football but at the end you have to score. They score. They link very well together, and work hard for the team."
Despite speculation over Mahrez's future, his agent Kamel Bengougam insists his client's only focus is on Leicester until at least the end of this season. "I don't have any contact with Manchester United about Mahrez," Bengougam told ESPN FC. "He is only focused on this season with Leicester City."