Leicester V Arsenal at The King Power Stadium : Match Preview

By
19 August 2016
Leicester V Arsenal - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri sets bar high for Riyad Mahrez

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has told Riyad Mahrez he must improve after the winger committed his future to the club.

The Algeria international penned a new four-year deal on Wednesday to end transfer speculation having been heavily linked to Arsenal.

The Gunners visit the champions on Saturday having also failed to persuade Jamie Vardy to quit Leicester and move to north London.

Mahrez scored 17 goals and won the PFA Player of the Year award as the Foxes won the Premier League by 10 points, but Ranieri wants more.

He said: "We are now in the Champions League and we need something more to play against the big teams. Now he knows very well what I want and my expectations are higher. Not only for Riyad but for all my players.

"I was so sure (he would stay), it was only speculation with first Vardy and then Mahrez and we only lost (N'Golo) Kante. Now it's important to stay together.

"We spoke together last season and in pre-season and he told me he wanted to stay. Speculation is normal.

"I want to keep our big players, that's normal. Our owner is very ambitious, he wants to maintain the same squad. It's normal other managers are looking at Leicester players, there's no message - we are building and want to stay together.

"He signed for four years, me too because I want to build. He wants to build something, Jamie wants to, Kasper (Schmeichel), everybody. It is good."

But Leicester could still lose Jeff Schlupp to West Brom with Albion refusing to give up the chase for the wide man, despite having a B#12million bid rejected. The Baggies are preparing another offer for the Ghana international.

He wants more playing time after starting 14 league games last season and is keen on a switch to The Hawthorns but Ranieri remains adamant he will remain at the King Power Stadium.

He said: "He stays with us, he is very happy. It is always good news. I am happy when I have this position, a lot of players. It is important to have a lot of quality players to choose from."

Robert Huth is available to face Arsenal at the weekend after suspension, having completed his three-game ban following a tangle with Marouane Fellaini last season.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has highlighted the significant threat posed by Mahrez ahead of his side's encounter with Leicester - but refused to confirm if he made a move to sign him this summer.

Wenger preferred not to discuss whether Mahrez was indeed an Arsenal target, but was more forthcoming about the Algeria international's obvious talent.

The former Le Havre man provided 11 Premier League assists as well as 17 goals last season and Wenger says that shows Mahrez is one of the most dangerous forwards in the country.

"I don't want to speak about individual players," Wenger replied when asked about a potential summer move for Mahrez.

"He has been outstanding. If you look at his numbers, certainly he was in the top three in the league last year.

"If you consider the number of goals and assists he had, he had the best combination in the league."

While Wenger has identified a new defender as his main target before the transfer window closes, a striker also remains on the agenda after the high-profile rejection from Vardy.

The England international, who finished last season with 24 league goals, had been mulling over an offer to join Arsenal as he linked up with the national squad at Euro 2016 but ultimately decided to remain at the King Power Stadium.

Asked if he was respectful of Vardy's decision, Wenger told BT Sport: "Of course.

"When you go for somebody you want him to join you but you have to respect the decision, we are all professional people.

"What matters is that once you commit somewhere you give 100 per cent, that is what it is to be professional, he has decided to stay at Leicester and I respect that fully."

Wenger has a number of selection decisions to make ahead of the trip to Leicester, with Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud all having been rested for the 4-3 loss to Liverpool following their Euro 2016 exertions.

Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi must also be replaced in the starting line-up having both been forced off with injuries during the game.


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