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Mahrez: Man City move is in the past… “I’m moving forward”

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Riyad Mahrez has been the subject of transfer rumors on numerous occasions since Leicester City’s meteoric Premier League rise in 2015/16.

Still, though, the Algerian remains at the King Power Stadium, and he’s prepared to put those rumors in the past.

The 27-year-old was on the brink of a move to Manchester City this winter, or at least it appeared that way, but Pep Guardiola and Co. weren’t willing to meet the asking price of Leicester, which kept Mahrez in the dark blue Foxes kit.

Mahrez didn’t initially take the news well, and even missed some time for Leicester after the deal fell through, but he has regained his focus as the Foxes push for a top-six position in the PL.

“I was away from here because I needed some time to think,” he told Sky Sports News. “It was a difficult situation but we moved on, everyone — the club, players, me.

“Manchester City is a good move for everyone, but it’s the past. I don’t really want to talk about this because it’s in the past. It’s behind me. If we start talking about this, it’s like coming back to this transfer window.

“Now I’m moving forward, trying to give my best for the team, and that’s most important.”

Mahrez remains under contract with Leicester until 2020, however, the player that has long been linked with various giants in Europe won’t commit one way or another to staying or leaving the club.

“In football players come, players leave,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m coming or going.

“We always talk between me and the club. Everything is good, so we will see in the summer if things come. At the moment I’m a Leicester player and I am good here. We are very far away from the transfer window.”

Mahrez after stunning free kick: “It was difficult to come back”

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“In this type of game, when it is close, you need a free-kick,” said Riyad Mahrez after Leicester City came back to draw Bournemouth on Saturday.

And in this type of game, it’s very good to have Riyad Mahrez on hand to take it.

[ RECAP: Leicester 1-1 Bournemouth ]

The Algerian playmaker buried a stoppage time set piece to get a point for the Foxes in a 1-1 draw at King Power Stadium on Saturday.

“I saw the goalkeeper was a little bit on my right and I took the chance,” Mahrez said. “We deserved a point at least and it was good for us not to lose.”

Mahrez admitted that he was frustrated during the January transfer window, but he certainly doesn’t mind burying a chance to grab a point.

“Obviously it is good for me after what happened in the last few weeks. It was difficult to come back, I think I did it well and it is a good thing to score and help the team.”

Showstopper stops the show. Pretty fitting, and Leicester has one team to chase down and FA Cup results to fall their way in a bid to return to Europe.

Leicester City 1-1 Bournemouth: Must-see Mahrez

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  • King wins, converts PK
  • Mahrez buries stoppage time free kick
  • Leicester three points behind seventh

Riyad Mahrez scored in the sixth (of four) minutes of stoppage time as Leicester City drew Bournemouth 1-1 at King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Bournemouth led on a Joshua King penalty kick, but finishes the day with 33 points (11th).

Leicester City is now three points back of Burnley in the race for seventh. The two sides play April 14 at Turf Moor.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The match had a vivid start, with Leicester whipping crosses into the mix and the Cherries wasting an exciting counter attack.

Marc Albrighton should have been Man of the Match in Leicester’s last outing, but a mix-up with King gave the Bournemouth man a penalty kick. King converted, 1-0.

Jamie Vardy helped lead the Leicester wake-up call after halftime, though his work around the hour mark wasn’t rewarded when Ben Chilwell missed a chance.

Mahrez answered that call improbably deep into stoppage time

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Leicester advances in FA Cup as Mahrez returns, stars

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By many accounts, Riyad Mahrez was not just back to his fine-playing ways in his King Power Stadium return on Friday but a veritable Man of the Match.

[ MORE: American debuts as Chelsea tops Hull ]

Leicester knocked Sheffield United out of the FA Cup and moved into the quarterfinals on a Jamie Vardy goal, but it was their Algerian wizard pulling the strings in his first home match since Deadline Day drama saw him leave the team.

Foxes boss Claude Puel has talked up Mahrez since early in his tenure at King Power, and hasn’t stopped just because the player is unsettled. From the BBC:

“The most important thing in the game was the fans supported Riyad and when I replaced him, it was a good feeling with the fans. It’s important to stay united about this, it’s a good thing and we can move on.

“The situation is behind us, it’s important to look forward. Now we have two home games in the Premier League and it’s important to get the support of the fans. We need to come back in the Premier League with conviction.”

Seventh place in the Premier League and a possible spot in the Europa League remain possible for the Foxes, who are just a point behind Burnley and reasonably sizing up Everton as a more legit combatant for the slot.

An FA Cup win would be another route to Europe, and many of the Foxes are still quite familiar with giant killing. Mahrez being committed and back in the picture could be huge.

Puel accepts Mahrez back after transfer window ‘mistake’

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Riyad Mahrez has been welcomed back with open arms at Leicester City – again – after his self-imposed leave following a failed move to Manchester City in January.

The 26-year-old was absent for 10 days in early February, before returning to make an appearance in the blowout loss to Manchester City this past weekend.

“Sometimes some players can make a mistake,” said manager Claude Puel on Sunday, according to the Leicester Mercury. “It was the first time for him and it was a mistake but the most important thing is to look forward and put it right. He is fantastic player for us, his team-mates and the fans. It is a pleasure to watch him. It is important we continue together.”

It may have been the first time Mahrez flat out left the club in protest, but it’s not the first time he’s tried to force a move away from the King Power Stadium. Back in the summer, Mahrez looked to push himself away from the Foxes with Arsenal and Roma pursuing a transfer, but nothing came of it.

After his absence in recent weeks, Mahrez released a statement claiming “Leicester City were always aware of my whereabouts,” but Puel’s words seem to indirectly dispute that, with the manager referring to Mahrez’s departure as a “mistake.”

Leicester City has an FA Cup match against Sheffield United at home on Friday, while they return to Premier League action against Stoke City the following weekend. Mahrez would likely return to action in one of those games barring injury in training.