Leicester City’s Craig Shakespeare looks ahead to their Premier League opener against Arsenal.
Craig Shakespeare does not expect wantaway midfielder Riyad Mahrez to become a disruptive influence in the Leicester squad.
But the Foxes boss has warned the Algeria international he will be made to train away from the other players should his attitude change.
Mahrez, the Premier League player of the year during Leicester’s title success in 2015-16, issued a statement at the end of last term expressing his desire to leave — just 12 months after signing a new four-year contract at the King Power Stadium.
He has courted interest from the likes of Barcelona, Monaco and Arsenal — Leicester’s opponents on Friday night when the new campaign gets under way — in the past, while Roma have had at least one offer for the 26-year-old turned down by the Foxes this summer.
Riyad Mahrez has been a complete professional this summer, says Craig Shakespeare.
“He’s been very focused and driven,” Shakespeare said. “He hasn’t given me one problem where I’ve had to take him to one side and say, ‘Oi, pull your finger out.’
“The commitment and energy levels in terms of training, and the respect that you should give your teammates, has all been there. He’s had a professional attitude.
“And as long as I get that he’ll be considered for selection and I have no qualms about picking him against Arsenal. If he doesn’t, though, then he won’t train with the group.”
Shakespeare confirmed Leicester had received a bid for the player from Roma which he described as “well below our valuation.” Reports in Italy suggest the Serie A club are preparing to make an improved offer of around €40 million euros (£36.1m).
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is also a known admirer and hinted in June at the possibility of making a bid for the player.
Asked if he thought Mahrez would still be at the midlands club when the transfer window closes on August 31, Shakespeare replied: “I really don’t know. Who knows?”