African Star Opens Up About Failed City Transfer
African Star Opens Up About Failed Manchester City Transfer
An African star has opened up about his failed transfer to Pep Guardiola's Manchester City after a reported £60 million (R987 million) move broke down in January.
Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez came close to joining the Citizens on deadline day in January, when Guardiola was keen to add another winger to his squad following an injury sustained by Leroy Sane.
Mahrez even snubbed training in order to push the move through, but the two clubs could not agree on a transfer fee. With the 27-year-old eventually returning to play for the Foxes, he has now explained his antics.
"I was away from here because I needed some time to think," the Algeria international told Sky Sports News when asked about his 10-day absence from training that saw him miss two games.
"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. It was difficult, but I spoke with the players, I spoke with the manager, I spoke with everyone and everyone was OK, everyone was good."
Leicester have failed to win any of their past five Premier League games since Mahrez's proposed move to City fell through, but coach Claude Puel has insisted the skilful winger conducted himself professionally throughout.
"Probably his absence hurt us a bit, with results and confidence, but we are pleased to have him back because he is a top player," the French tactician said, as quoted by the Daily Star.
"Riyad reintegrated quickly and shows a great attitude, that I expected. He went through what was a tough time for him. Everyone has welcomed him back.
"I had to try to understand the player, avoid confrontation. Riyad is very honest and wouldn't get up to mischief. It was the first time he'd received such a high-profile approach, which was new for him. It was up to me to keep him here for the club, and for me to try to sort it out, protect Riyad and the club.
"Everyone conducted themselves well and he has emerged stronger, and whilst it was a setback for us in the short term, it will make us stronger for the future."
Mahrez, who was named the PFA Premier League Player of the Year in 2015/16 and won the African Footballer of the Year award in 2016, has scored 10 goals and assisted another 10 strikes in 31 games across all competitions for Leicester so far this season.
Do you think Mahrez would have been a regular starter for Guardiola's City if he had made the move? Have your say in the comments section below.