English Premiership

Mahrez 'distracted' by transfer talk

2016-08-01 12:24
Riyad Mahrez (TEAMtalk)

Cape Town - Speculation about a possible transfer to Premier League rivals Arsenal has unsettled Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez, manager Claudio Ranieri has said.

The 25-year-old Algeria international, who signed from Ligue 2 side Le Havre in 2014, has become a hot property after scoring 17 league goals and winning the PFA Player of the Year during Leicester's remarkable title-winning campaign.

Leicester have already had to fight off advances from Arsenal to keep striker Jamie Vardy, but lost midfielder N'Golo Kante to Chelsea for a reported fee of £32m.

"Maybe Riyad is distracted a bit by all of these rumours and speculation," Ranieri told British media. "But that is also an experience for my players. It is important that he understands that he should stay with us.

"He has to improve his fitness and play for the team as well as last season."

Leicester, beaten 4-0 by French champions Paris St Germain in a friendly in California on Saturday, kick-off their title defence with a trip to newly-promoted Hull City on August 13.

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