Leicester City manager Craig Shakespeare is uncertain if Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez will remain at the King Power Stadium beyond the end of the transfer window amid well-documented interest from Chelsea and AS Roma and remains fearful that "acceptable" bids could be made before the deadline.
Drinkwater has emerged as a key target for Antonio Conte as he seeks to bolster his midfield options and reunite the England international with former Foxes accomplice N'Golo Kante. The Evening Standard reported over the weekend that Chelsea were preparing a second offer for his services after seeing an initial bid worth £20m ($25.6m) rebuffed, with Leicester said to be demanding in excess of £30m.
While Drinkwater has yet to play in 2017-18 and will not face Sheffield United in the second round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night (22 August) as he builds match fitness following a thigh strain, Mahrez has continued to feature and earned praise for his professionalism despite making it abundantly clear in May that he wants to leave the former Premier League champions.
The Algerian playmaker, who has already racked up three assists for Leicester in opening top-flight fixtures against Arsenal and Brighton & Hove Albion, appears to have been left in limbo after Roma failed with multiple bids to take him to Serie A.
It seems that the stubborn Giallorossi may now have moved onto other targets following a refusal to meet Mahrez's asking price, although Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Barcelona have also been linked with the 2015-16 PFA Player of the Year at different stages over recent months.
"I've read the speculation the same as you but until we get the bids accepted, there's no difference for me," Shakespeare told reporters at his pre-Sheffield United press conference, per the Leicester Mercury. "We carry on with them. All the time we're talking about the speculation. We'll carry on as normal until I'm told otherwise. I've said that your worst fear is that an acceptable bid comes in, but if it does, we have to deal with it. Until it does, we have no decision to make.
"We have to be aware that the window goes to the end. We have to be aware of every scenario. It could work the other way that we're in for a player and it isn't accepted until three, two, one day before. We always have conversations in the recruitment department. We're always aware of the what-ifs."
Shakespeare, who will also be without Roberth Huth, Wes Morgan, Vicente Iborra and Kelechi Iheanacho against the Blades but is set to have Jamie Vardy available following an ankle scare, confirmed that he still wanted to make "one or two" more of his own signings before the 31 August. However, he did not reveal any identities or even elaborate on which positions he was hoping to strengthen.
Leicester have made four additions so far this summer, with Iheanacho and Iborra joined in the East Midlands by former Hull City duo Harry Maguire and Eldin Jakupovic.