Riyad Mahrez has said his failed Manchester City move is ‘in the past’ and insists he is happy to still be a Leicester City player. The Algerian winger says he faced no hostility from his Foxes team-mates after he was denied a switch to the Premier League leaders in January. Mahrez went AWOL after the proposed transfer collapsed – missing ten days of training and two matches – but he is now firmly back in the Leicester fold. And Mahrez says the saga has not caused any tension within the club, even if he declined to confirm he would not seek another move in the summer.
“I was away from here because I needed some time to think, but we’ve moved on now,” he said in an interview. “Everyone to be honest has been very good and it’s the past now. “It was difficult but I spoke with the players, I spoke with the manager, I spoke with everyone. Everyone was OK, was good. Now it’s the past, it’s behind me.” He added: “Manchester City is a good move for everyone, but it’s the past. “I really don’t want to talk about this, because it’s behind me. If we start talking about this, it’s like coming back to this transfer window, and now I’m looking forward and trying to give my best for the team. That’s the most important.”
Mahrez missed Leicester’s games against Everton and Swansea during his self-imposed exile, with reports claiming he was distraught by the collapsed move and angry at Leicester for refusing to let him go. But the player has hit back at the assumptions made about his absence, and insists the club were always aware of his whereabouts. Asked if he had any regrets about how he handled the situation, he said: “You always have regrets, but at the time I thought it was the best thing to do. I have always been in contact with the club. The club handled it very well.
“I’ve been with these team-mates for four years now. They know me very well. We had some discussions and we moved on.” However, Mahrez declined to commit his future to the Foxes when asked about what would happen when the transfer window opens again in the summer. “I don’t want to want to talk about this, because first it will bring more rumours and more talk and second we are very far away from this transfer window,” he said. “My mind, focus is on Leicester, that’s all I’m focused on.
“In football players come, players leave. I’m not saying I’m going to leave, I’m going to go. Everything is very good. We will see in the summer if something comes, but at the moment I’m a Leicester City player and I’m good here.”