Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri is confident of keeping Riyad Mahrez at the King Power Stadium for at least one more season. The 25-year-old Algerian has been linked with a £45m ($59.5m) move to Arsenal this summer, but Ranieri is expecting Mahrez to remain loyal to the Premier League champions.
The midfielder – who was named the PFA Player of the Season in 2015/16 – was a key figure in the Foxes' against-the-odds title triumph and Ranieri says it is "important" Leicester keep hold of him. The Italian manager's desperation is exacerbated by their recent loss of France midfielder N'Golo Kante to Chelsea.
"If he wants to sign a new contract it is OK. For me, it is important that this season he stays with us," Ranieri said of the reported Arsenal target, according to ESPN. "He is very happy. I see him every day and he has never talked to me about something strange. I am confident with him. This is experience."
Despite reports linking Mahrez with Arsenal, Ranieri insisted he is confident ahead of the Foxes' defence of their Premier League crown. "The club is working very well and I think the players want to stay with us to try and to improve on last season," he shared.
"We know that is very difficult but we are ambitious. Then it is important they sign, stay with us and gain experience in the Champions League. Then we will see."
Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed he is in the market for another forward, after accepting he is short of attacking options. Following the Gunners' recent 1-1 draw against the MLS All-Stars, Wenger opened up about his transfer plans.
"At the moment I have not too many attacking options in terms of experienced players. But let's not forget we still have a few players at home," the Arsenal boss said, according to the Daily Mail. "There are also a few players who did not play (against the MLS All-Stars), like (Santi) Cazorla. And of course (Mesut) Ozil and (Aaron) Ramsey are at home. (Olivier) Giroud is also not here. So we have options but we will still look outside to find one more."