Manchester City have been accused by Leicester manager Claude Puel of showing a lack of respect in their pursuit of Riyad Mahreh. Sportdominion revealed late in the January transfer window that the Algeria international had emerged as a target for Pep Guardiola.
The Premier League leaders were looking to push a £60 million deal through before the deadline, but were met by stubborn resistance from the Foxes – despite Mahrez asking for a move.
City eventually shelved their interest, while Leicester saw a star turn go AWOL as he skipped training, and Puel believes the whole unfortunate situation reflects badly on how big-spending teams go about their business.
He told reporters on a protracted saga: “We don’t have a lot of players with the game quality as Riyad.
“For some other teams, it’s not a difficulty to replace their players.
“We’re not a squad like some great teams at the top of the table. We needed to manage better and we need also perhaps some others’ respect.
“We had some solicitation from another club.
“To make solicitation just one or two days before the end of the transfer window, I don’t know if it’s normal.
“I cannot suffer this situation because other teams make this thing against us.
“It was important to stay united within the club, the fans, the players, among themselves. We succeeded to keep a good united within the team.”
Mahrez eventually returned to training with Leicester and rubbished any suggestion that he had gone on strike.
He was clearly left frustrated at seeing another move blocked, but was brought back into the Foxes fold for a meeting with City at the Etihad Stadium.
An appearances was made off the bench in that contest, with it now up to the 26-year-old to clear his head and focus on finishing the 2017-18 campaign as positively as possible.