Chelsea want Leicester winger after wrapping up Barkley deal

By: Snehanjan Banerjee

Riyad Mahrez

Bengaluru, January 6: Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is reportedly targeting the signing of Leicester ace Riyad Mahrez as Chelsea look to strengthen their squad in January.

The Blues are already close to completing a deal to bring Ross Barkley to Stamford Bridge from Everton, with the midfielder to have a medical on Friday ahead of a £15million switch.

But in a blow for the Premier League champions, Leicester City boss Claude Puel has claimed that the 26-year-old is happy at the King Power Stadium after a meeting between the pair.

He said: "I have said I want to keep all my best players in the squad. Riyad is a valuable player to the team. When I discuss things with him he has shown a good attitude, he is enjoying his football. He is a happy player. This is a good thing.

“He likes to play with his team-mates. He has improved all his stats with assists and goals. It is all positive for him. I want to continue this work with all my best players, like Riyad."

When asked whether the Algerian international had asked to leave this window, with French Football claiming he was free to leave, Puel added: "No. He is happy with the squad. After that, it is speculation. For me, there is no problem. He is happy to play with his team-mates. He loves football.

“In the transfer window, people can make speculation about players and transfers, but I am not worried because I like the player. It is easy to speak with him and he likes football and this is the most important thing.”

The Premier League winner with Leicester City has been regularly linked with exits from the club in recent windows but none of the speculations actually materialized.

Meanwhile, the Algerian is also linked strongly to Liverpool who are looking to replace Barcelona-bound star midfielder Philippe Coutinho.

Arsenal also want the winger to replace their outgoing stars Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

Story first published: Saturday, January 6, 2018, 14:12 [IST]
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