Leicester manager Claude Puel has promised to help Riyad Mahrez come back “with a smile” after a potential deadline-day move to Manchester City failed to materialise.
Press Association Sport understands the Premier League leaders enquired about the Algeria playmaker but were put off by the Foxes’ £95million valuation and ended discussions without actually submitting a formal bid.
Mahrez was left out of the Foxes’ squad for their 2-1 defeat at Everton but Puel is hopeful the player can be re-integrated quickly.
“We receive at the last moment something about City and I think it was harsh for us. It was difficult also for Riyad,” said the Frenchman.
“We have to understand (all) parts: for me, for the squad, for the player. We will accept the decision, it was a decision taken between the two clubs.
“Of course I have all confidence about the owner to take a good decision about Riyad for the future and after we will see with Riyad when he can come back with us.
“All the players and staff will help him to come back with a smile and to enjoy his football.
“Players know it will be difficult sometimes for Riyad. We have a fantastic group, a fantastic squad, all the players have a fantastic relationship. All the players will give their best for Riyad.”
Everton’s recent £20m signing Theo Walcott was their match-winner with both goals and manager Sam Allardyce hailed the former Arsenal forward’s link-up with Seamus Coleman, returning after 10 months out with a broken leg.
“There’s a new partnership flourishing that’s come together for the very first time – Seamus and Theo,” Allardyce told the club’s website.
“Everybody could see what an impact those two had today playing together. The performance was good and that partnership down the right was excellent.
“For (Coleman) to finish 90 minutes, and in the 92nd minute run 80 yards with the ball was outstanding for me.
“Theo could have scored a hat-trick. Oumar Niasse could have scored a hat-trick – that’s how many good chances we created.”
Allardyce had his own complaints about deadline day after Ademola Lookman left on loan to RB Leipzig, Davy Klaassen’s move to Napoli fell through and several other players were subject to interest.
“Five of our players in the squad, agents had rung up and asked if they could go out on loan,” he said in his post-match press conference.
“It has not affected the result, I’m glad to say, but it could have easily have done that. I’ve spent all day trying to fend off people who are trying to take my players.”
On Lookman, whom the manager said on Monday would not be leaving in this window, Allardyce said: “It is one of the most unusual situations I’ve been in where we have got some deals for him but he was adamant he chose Germany.
“We tried to persuade him not to because I think it is a big challenge for his development. His stubbornness meant he got his own way.
“I hope he proves us all wrong.”
Regarding Klaassen he added: “I got the weirdest situation. A contract he has with a sporting company is one of the reasons why it failed.
“We are disappointed but he should be far more disappointed than us that he is not playing for Napoli.
“I don’t know why they couldn’t get over the hurdles.”