Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez was absent for training today and is reportedly on strike after a day move to Manchester City fell through.
Mahrez, 26, was frustrated with Leicester valuation of him which prevented his move to the Etihad Stadium, as sources told ESPN FC that the club tagged him £95 million with City only willing to go as high as £65m.
The Algerian, whose contract is valid till 2020, handed in a transfer request last summer and his desire to make an exit remained unchanged as reports claimed he handed in a fresh transfer request on Tuesday, a day before deadline day.
He also missed the 2-1 loss to Everton on Wednesday evening.
Two weeks ago, City withdrew their interest in Alexis Sanchez due to the risin cost of signing the Chilean from Arsenal, who subsequently moved to Manchester United. Their made City consider another option in Mahrez, in an ongoing search for another attacker that will likely resume in the summer.
But Mahrez was reportedly left devastated by the failed move this month and a friend of the winger told Sky Sports News on Wednesday: “Riyad is very depressed this evening over the events of the last two days. He doesn’t understand why Leicester have behaved in the way they have.
“This is the fourth transfer window in which Leicester have said they will allow him to leave. He feels very strongly that he has done everything in his powers for the club….
“Joining Manchester City would have been a dream for him. Playing for Pep Guardiola is something he is still desperate to do. That seems a long way off right now. He’s very down about how he’s been treated by a club he has served so well.”
Earlier on Thursday, Leicester manager Claude Puel said he would help Mahrez come back “with a smile”.
“It was a difficult situation for Riyad,” Puel told the BBC. “I hope he can come back with a smile and with desire and happy to play with his teammates. There is perhaps disappointment for Riyad but I think all the players, all the squad will help him to come back.”