Leicester City manager Claude Puel has revealed that he expects to keep Riyad Mahrez till the summer as he is playing at a good level and would help Leicester City progress in the Premier League. The Algerian has been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool and Arsenal but no concrete bids have been made for the midfielder thus far.
Liverpool are on the lookout for a goalscorer after selling Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for a fee of around £142m. They have already invested £75m ($100m) on Virgil van Dijk in a massive statement of intent for the January window in a bid to improve their defence and would have money to spare even after completing a move for the forward.
Mahrez would slot in perfectly at Anfield, given his ability on the ball and proficiency on set pieces, as you would expect from a Coutinho replacement. The Algerian has made no secret of his desire to leave Leicester and saw moves to Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea and Roma fall through in the summer as the club's £45m valuation priced out those outfits.
Mahrez has been in brilliant form throughout the season and would be a massive coup for any team in January. He has scored 10 goals and assisted seven in 30 appearances for Leicester in all competitions this campaign and would be able to bridge the gap left by the departure of Coutinho in an attacking sense.
Arsenal have also been heavily linked with Mahrez as Arsene Wenger has reportedly drawn him up as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez, with Manchester City rekindling their interest in January. The Chilean has only six months left in his contract and this is the last chance that the north London club would have of making something from his sale and not let him leave on a free after the end of the season.
However, Puel believes that Mahrez, who won the Player of the Year award for his performance in Leicester's miraculous League winning campaign in 2015/16, is happy to stay at the club and would not consider a move out in January.
"I think it is important he keeps this focus and concentration until the end of the season," Puel said, as quoted by the Sun. "I am happy with him and I think he is enjoying his football. He is happy to play with this team. We are trying to develop good play on the floor and he likes this. He has good results with assists and goals in recent games."