London (AFP) – Leicester’s vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha claims Riyad Mahrez has told him he wants to stay with the newly crowned Premier League champions.
Mahrez’s future was thrown into doubt when the Algeria international’s agent recently claimed it was only 50-50 whether the PFA player of the year would remain at the King Power Stadium next season.
Mahrez signed a new four-year deal in 2015 but has been linked with Barcelona after scoring 18 times to help fire the Foxes to an improbable title.
But with Leicester due to receive the Premier League trophy after Saturday’s final home game of the season against Everton, Aiyawatt made it clear he expects to keep Mahrez for his club’s assault on the Champions League next term.
“Yes. I think now I want the players to enjoy this moment and not be concerned about the contracts,” he was quoted as saying by several British newspapers.
“They are good boys. They are good lads. They understand. Even Mahrez, I talked to him and said, ‘Are you concerned?’.
“He said, ‘No, no, I want to stay’. This is what he wants. He wants to stay.”
Aiyawatt knows fans fear they could lose their prized assets, with French midfielder N’Golo Kante also in demand, but he insisted Leicester do not intend to sell their stars.
“I understand that. I can’t say ‘he will stay’ because at the end of the day it depends on the players and the clubs who want them, but we have no policy to sell the players and we don’t have a problem with money,” he said.
“Next year we are going to play in the Champions League. They can see how good the fans are here and they can see how many players moved and failed.
“All the players understand but it depends on them and us.”
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