Mahrez distracted by transfer rumours – Ranieri

The Algerian is struggling to remain focused on the Premier League champions amid reports linking him with a move to the Gunners, according to his manager

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri believes the ongoing speculation linking Riyad Mahrez with a move to Arsenal is becoming a distraction for the winger.

Mahrez was a star turn in a Leicester side that clinched an unlikely Premier League title success last season, scoring 17 goals and setting up 11 more – form that saw him win the PFA Player of the Year award.

The 25-year-old’s sublime season soon led to rumours of an exit from the King Power Stadium with Barcelona reportedly interested, while Arsenal have emerged as favourites for his signature.

Ranieri has so far insisted Mahrez will stay at the King Power Stadium, but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reportedly visited Leicester’s International Champions Cup defeat against Paris Saint-Germain to see Mahrez in action.

And Ranieri has acknowledged the former Le Havre man is struggling to remain focused on his current club.

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“Maybe Riyad is distracted a bit by all of these rumours and speculation,” Ranieri said at a news conference.

“But that is also an experience for my players.

“It is important that he understands that he should stay with us.

“He has to improve his fitness and play for the team as well last season.”

Mahrez has a contract with Leicester until June 2019.

The Premier League champions previously lost N’Golo Kante to Chelsea, but Jamie Vardy snubbed a move to Arsenal in favour of a new deal with Leicester.

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