Manchester City Reportedly Set to Drop Interest in Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2018

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20:  Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Watford at The King Power Stadium on January 20, 2018 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is reportedly set to drop his interest in signing Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City due to the winger's reaction to missing out on a January switch to the Etihad Stadium. 

City bid £60 million for Mahrez last month but were not prepared to meet the £95 million valuation from Leicester so withdrew their interest.

According to the Mirror's David McDonnell, Guardiola was weighing up a renewed bid for the Algeria international in the summer, but he will now look elsewhere as he has been unimpressed with Mahrez effectively going on strike since being denied a move to City.

The 26-year-old has missed the Foxes' last two Premier League fixtures, from which they have earned just a point, and he has also been a regular absentee at training, per Sky Sports' Rob Dorsett.

According to The TimesGary Jacob, Mahrez wants a "guarantee" he will be allowed to leave Leicester in the summer before he ends his exile, although another solution could be to agree on a release clause. 

Per McDonnell, Guardiola has "major concerns" about Mahrez's reaction to missing out on a move to City and will scrap his interest as a result.

Dave Thompson/Associated Press

A friend of the player previously described the Premier League winner as being "very depressed" about having his move to the Etihad blocked.

Per Sky Sports News, the associate said: "He doesn't understand why Leicester have behaved in the way they have. This is the fourth transfer window in which Leicester have said they will allow him to leave. He feels very strongly that he has done everything in his powers for the club."

Mahrez netted 17 goals, provided 11 assists and was voted PFA Player of the Year as Leicester won the Premier League title in 2015-16.

In the summer after the Foxes' stunning triumph, the former Le Havre man was heavily linked with Arsenal, but he ended up remaining at the King Power Stadium as he "did not want to create a conflict," per Canal Football Club (via Ed Aarons in the Guardian).

His concerns about rocking the boat have now seemingly disappeared, and he is set to prolong his absence by missing Leicester's Premier League clash at the Etihad on Saturday, according to McDonnell.

After a dip in form last term, Mahrez has looked nearly back to his best again in 2017-18, especially since the appointment of Claude Puel as manager in October.

He has likely caught the eye of clubs besides City with his recent form, and Mahrez may now have to rely on alternative suitors giving him a way out of Leicester if Guardiola has lost interest.