Jul 21, 2016

    Ranieri upbeat Mahrez won't take exit route like Kante


    LEICESTER City manager Claudio Ranieri is confident Riyad Mahrez will stay at the club after midfielder N'Golo Kante's Chelsea move triggered speculation that the influential winger could follow suit.

    Leicester have already had to fight off advances from several clubs to keep striker Jamie Vardy and left wing-back Jeffrey Schlupp.

    Mahrez remains the subject of interest from several clubs, including Spanish champions Barcelona, according to the British media. Vardy rejected Arsenal and signed a new deal at Leicester last month.

    "Only Kante wanted to go - that's okay. But I understood him, he came from a little team in France and had a fantastic season," Ranieri said.

    Leicester's head of recruitment Steve Walsh, who was instrumental in bringing both Mahrez and Kante to the club, has been heavily linked with the director of football

    role at Everton.

    Ranieri already lost a major part of his backroom staff when highly-rated scout

    Ben Wrigglesworth moved

    to Arsenal in January and

    Rob MacKenzie was installed as Tottenham Hotspur's

    head of talent identification

    in February.

    Leicester will kick off their title defence with a trip to the KC Stadium, where they will face promoted Hull City

    on Aug 13.