New Leicester manager Claudes Puel is hoping to “seduce” Riyad Mahrez into staying at the club.
Puel takes charge for the first time today against Everton, live on Super Sunday, but one of his priorities off the pitch is to launch a charm offensive with Mahrez.
The 2016 PFA player of the year handed in a transfer request in the summer and appeared to be on his way out of the club during the transfer window.
Leicester vs Everton
October 29, 2017, 3:30pm
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But the winger, who played a key role in Leicester’s title-winning side two years ago, has stayed put and scored two goals in the last three games.
“It is down to me to make these players want to stay by the fact we are playing good football,” Puel said. “I have always got to attract them, to seduce them.
“It is down to me to create that environment where these players want to thrive and stay and be happy and to enjoy themselves, their football and the plans that we have.
“It is normal for a player, if they win the title and play Champions League, that sometimes there is disappointment, frustration because now they know the high level.
“My door is always open and it is important to listen, to try to tell them it is a different opportunity, that they feel they can improve.”
Puel, who has signed a three-year contract after replacing Craig Shakespeare, is hoping to be in it for the long haul at Leicester but he is only too aware that it could all come to an abrupt halt like it did at Southampton when he was sacked four months ago.
“I will approach the job in the long- term,” he added. “When I come to a job I always try to bring something, not just on the playing side, on the technical football side, but to develop the club as a whole.
“You make little tweaks but it is always long-term, not a short-term project. You are also aware and you are realistic that it can stop at any moment.”