Claudio Ranieri revealed he was always confident Riyad Mahrez would commit his long-term future to Leicester City.
The Algeria international ended reports linking him with a move away from Leicester, by signing a new four-year contract at the club on Wednesday.
Mahrez played a vital role in Leicester’s title winning campaign last season, scoring 17 goals and making 11 assists to be voted the PFA Players’ Player of the Year.”I’m very pleased [about Mahrez] but I was so sure,” said Ranieri. “Out of the speculation with Vardy and Mahrez, we lost only Kante.
“We spoke together last season, also in pre-season. He told me he wanted to stay.”
Ranieri is buoyed at keeping the majority of his squad from last season, as Wes Morgan, Jamie Vardy, Kasper Schmeichel and Andy King have all signed new deals.Leicester will be hoping to kick-start their season against Arsenal on Saturday, after beginning their Premier League defence with a a 2-1 defeat at Hull City last weekend.
“We have very good players. It’s normal for other managers to look at Leicester players. But we want to continue and stay together,” Ranieri added.
“I wanted to keep all my players and I wanted Kante, but the story is finished. I am happy with my squad. It’s important for us to stay concentrated ahead of our next match on Saturday.”
The Italian manager also failed to rule out more signings, claiming Danny Drinkwater is on the verge of signing a new contract.
“The market is open and we watch everything,” he added. “If there’s a good addition for the squad, something could happen.
“Danny is close [to a new contract], he was fantastic last season, but I am sure he can improve as he plays more games and becomes more confident.”