Riyad Mahrez looks likely to miss this weekend’s match against Manchester City, with Leicester’s star player reportedly absent from training since he failed to force through a move to the Premier League leaders.
It would be the third consecutive league game the Algeria winger has missed since Pep Guardiola’s City failed to get their man on January 31, transfer deadline day.
Despite a second transfer request from the player in eight months, Leicester reportedly held out for a deal worth £80 million ($111 million, 90 million euros), with even City’s cash-rich Abu Dhabi owners unwilling to go beyond £60 million.
The Times newspaper reported on Wednesday that Leicester were considering asking the Professional Footballers’ Association to mediate in their dispute with the forward if no agreement could be reached.
It said the 26-year-old, who has missed Leicester’s past two matches, against Everton and Swansea, was absent for a fourth successive training session on Tuesday.
It is understood that even if Mahrez reports back for duty, it is unlikely he will feature against Guardiola’s team on Saturday.
Mahrez is unhappy that Leicester were determined to secure such a huge profit on a player they bought for a reported £350,000 from French second-division side Le Havre in 2014 and who played a pivotal role in the club’s rise from the Championship to Premier League champions.
He was crowned players’ player of the year during Leicester’s remarkable title-winning campaign in 2015-16, scoring 17 Premier League goals, and then signed a four-year deal to help lead their Champions League charge.
Adding to Mahrez’s anger is that other heroes of Leicester’s title-winning triumph — N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater — have been allowed to leave the club and join Chelsea with far less resistance.