Claudio Ranieri knows he has a uphill battle ahead to keep star man Riyad Mahrez after a phenomenal season with Leicester City, and he is pulling out all the stops to ensure he does. The Algerian claimed the PFA Player of the Year and enjoyed a monumental campaign for the Premier League champions which has led to plenty of speculation with a host of big clubs rumoured to be interested in his services including Arsenal (via ESPNFC).
Ranieri believes that should Mahrez leave the club that put him on the map last season, he could face difficulties playing regularly and confidence may suffer as a result if his future potential manager benches the 17-goal midfielder.
The Leicester boss gave an exclusive interview with ESPNFC, and said: “I think Mahrez for us is very important as our light. If he goes in another big team, there are so many lights, so many stars, why?
“Stay with us, it’s much better, much better. He’s our champion. If he goes in another team, there are so many champions.
“He knows me, I know him very well and I understand when he plays so-so and I can permit to stay on the pitch. When another manager, when he plays so-so, there are so many other stars I put him on the bench.
“It’s important you give confidence. But if you put him on the bench he gets down. I think, I hope he can stay with us because it’s important for us and it’s important for him.”
The reason why Mahrez would follow N’Golo Kante out of the King Power Stadium is purely down to the fact that they’ve already achieved something memorable and unique, they see moving to a regular Champions League club as a step in the right direction for their career.
It is hard to argue with Ranieri’s statements in regards to playing regularly and not necessarily being the focal point of the team, but at Arsenal Mahrez will be afforded plenty of room to improve, express himself and be surrounded by world-class players that will help him reach new levels.
In Arsene Wenger, the 25-year-old could have a manager that will nurture his talent and takes into consideration the belief and confidence of a player when making a decision more than other top tier managers.
Ranieri’s statements are becoming more and more ‘hopeful’ that his star man will stay put, if Arsenal can pay the asking price it seems Leicester won’t be standing in his way. You know what to do Dick Law.