Claudio Ranieri has explained why Riyad Mahrez should remain at Leicester instead of joining “another big team”.
Mahrez has been the subject of intense speculation this season, and even reportedly chose to join most viable suitors Arsenal in a €50m deal earlier this week.
The Algerian’s future remains uncertain, with Leicester keen to keep hold of the majority of their Premier League title-winning squad this summer.
N’Golo Kante has joined Chelsea for £32m, but Jamie Vardy has rejected overtures from elsewhere, with Mahrez the last of the crucial trio to decide his future.
Ranieri believes that the reigning Player of the Year could be lost in the mix at “another big team”.
“I think Mahrez for us is very important as our light,” the Italian said. “If he goes in another big team, there are so many lights, so many stars, why?
“Stay with us, it’s much better, much better. He’s our champion. If he goes in another team, there are so many champions.
“He knows me, I know him very well and I understand when he plays so-so and I can permit to stay on the pitch. When another manager, when he plays so-so, there are so many other stars I put him on the bench.
“It’s important you give confidence. But if you put him on the bench he gets down. I think, I hope he can stay with us because it’s important for us and it’s important for him.”