Once again Riyad Mahrez has failed to turn up to training for Leicester City as the situation regarding his future with the Foxes took another dramatic twist just hours after the January transfer window closed.
Mahrez is said to be “depressed” and feels he is “unable to play football” after his Transfer Deadline Day move to Manchester City broke down on Wednesday.
Sky Sports in the UK are reporting that Mahrez failed to turn up for training, as expected, for the second day running and he was not in Leicester’s squad against Everton on Wednesday as the Foxes lost 2-1 at Goodison Park.
In essence, Mahrez is on strike. But that should come as no real surprised after he handed in a formal transfer request in the summer and spent most of Deadline Day in September on a private jet waiting to sign for Chelsea or Roma.
Less than six months on he’s in a similar situation.
With City offering a deal worth over $90 million for Mahrez, Leicester rejected the advances and kept their star playmaker who has been playing much more like himself in recent months since Claude Puel arrived as manager.
The 26-year-old Algerian winger has been a repeated target for Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea and other big clubs across Europe since leading Leicester to Premier League title glory in 2015-16, but he will remain at the King Power Stadium at least until the summer and it appears he’s not at all happy.
Technically Mahrez is in breach of his contract for not turning up to training, so Leicester could fine him, but it is unlikely that will happen as it appears to be a delicate situation.
Puel has repeatedly said he hopes Mahrez can be happy with the Foxes and after the defeat at Everton he talked about making the Algerian star smile again.
As for City, the club he tried to sneak in and sign Mahrez on deadline day, Pep Guardiola was disappointed a deal couldn’t be done.
“We can not afford what they are asking, I understand. We tried to do in summer time, we tried to do now. It was not possible but we are going to see what happens in the summer,” Guardiola said.