Former Leicester City goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer believes the club are stuck in a ‘no-win situation’ after denying Riyad Mahrez a dream move to Manchester City.
Mahrez submitted his second transfer request in six months after learning of the Premier League leaders’ interest on deadline day.
City were ready to bid £50million for the Foxes ace, but the potential switch fell through after Leicester upped their demands to around £95million.
It is claimed the Algerian playmaker feels betrayed by the club’s refusal to sell him and, with his immediate future with the Foxes unclear, Schwarzer has suggested the club may have shot themselves in the foot by denying their star man his big move.
“I don’t think anybody wins in this particular situation,” the Australian told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.
“It’s really tough. For a player like Riyad at this stage of his career, it’s an incredible opportunity to move to a club like Manchester City.
“They’re on the verge of something really special, so Riyad will be devastated not to have that opportunity to play at that level for a team like City.”
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Mahrez has gone AWOL ever since the deadline day drama. The Foxes star is facing a £200,000 fine after failing to report at the club for training on Thursday, with his absence reportedly angering his team-mates.
Schwarzer admits the midfielder’s conduct is not correct, but he also defended his former team-mate’s character and said he has sympathy for his situation.
“Riyad is a good kid,” he added. “You can understand the frustration he must feel, but it isn’t the right way to approach it.
“He must be so devastated. He’s an emotional guy so at the moment I don’t think he’s thinking straight.
“What can he do? At this stage, the transfer window is shut and he can’t go anywhere, so he’s no accomplishing anything at the moment other from getting himself into more bother.
“In the past he’s handed in transfer requests and the fans have always taken him back with open arms, because he’s a fantastic player.”
Latest reports have claimed his Leicester team-mate are ‘unhappy’ with the Algerian over his recent behaviour, having missed training on Tuesday, missed the 2-1 defeat to Everton on Wednesday and failed to report to training again on Thursday.
But Schwarzer played down the rumours and insisted the Foxes players will support their team-mate following his disappointment.
He added: “The only reason the team would be upset about it is the fact he’s such a top class player and they’ll be missing him. With him in the team they’re such a strong side and he gives them every chance to win against any team in the country.
“As a former Leicester player, knowing what he’s like and knowing the changing room, there will be that frustration, but they will have sympathy for him because they themselves know what a massive move it could have been for him.
“I think once the dust settles hopefully Riyad will get his head right again, they’ll sort things out, he’ll come back and I’m sure all the guys in that changing room will welcome him back with open arms.”