By support

23rd Jul, 2016 | 10:35pm

Manager responds to report £40m-plus transfer to Arsenal is imminent

By Amir Mir

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has insisted Arsenal target Riyad Mahrez “stays with us” after he scored a stunning goal in the club’s pre-season penalty shootout victory against Celtic.

It was reported on Saturday morning that the PFA Player of the year was going to make an imminent move to the Emirates with a £42 million deal on the table.

But, after the Premier League Champions penalty shootout victory against Scottish champions Celtic, the Italian was quick to quash those reports.

“It is good for you [the media] not for us,” said Ranieri as quoted by the Mirror. “Did you see how Riyad is happy? He played so well, worked so hard for the team, he scored a goal and he stays with us.

“It is very important [to keep him], he is one of our stars. Other teams maybe have more stars and maybe he doesn’t play at the same level, because maybe he is on the bench, so it is much better he stays with me.”

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The Algerian international was the stand-out performer for Leicester in their title triumph last season with 17 league goals and 10 assists, while forming a highly productive partnership with Jamie Vardy.

He joined from Le Havre, who play in the French Ligue 2, midway through the 2013-14 season and helped Leicester earn a return to the Premier League.

Mahrez is now being dubbed as a £40 million rated player as his club manager states that his price tag can go even higher, but in the end they are only rumours.

“Maybe tomorrow some newspapers say £100million, that is good – keep going. It is only speculation.” said Ranieri.

The Foxes begin the defence of their Premier League crown away at newly promoted Hull City on August 13.

In other Arsenal transfer news, Arsene Wenger is set to miss out on this Italian-based striker.