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Puel underscores import of keeping volley-scoring Mahrez

Britain Soccer Premier League

Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, right, confronts Huddersfield Town’s Christopher Schindler during their English Premier League soccer match at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Monday Jan. 1, 2018. (Nigel French/PA via AP)


The January transfer window is open, and there are few clubs who wouldn’t welcome the talent of Riyad Mahrez to their squads.

His name is sure to be one mentioned often over the next few weeks, along with West Brom defender Jonny Evans, as a possible intra-league transfer.

[ WATCH: Mahrez volley gives Leicester lead ]

That’s seen Leicester City boss Claude Puel, who’s helped engineer a resurgent season from the Algerian magician, using quotes and puffery to recruit Mahrez to stay home since almost the moment he took the job.

Mahrex has seven goals and eight assists this season, with the goal total well off his marvelous 2015-16 but his assist figure on pace to pass that season soon.

He was speaking about it again Monday after Leicester City clobbered Huddersfield Town 3-0.

“I like this player and I’d like to keep our best players. We will ask him the question, for me I am happy to play with the team with Riyad, with Jamie Vardy and others,” he said. “You say the word, speculation. I would like to keep all my best players. It was a very good game, a fantastic game for Riyad. It will be important to keep the maximum of our players.”

Leicester is four points back of seventh place Burnley, and we’ve learned not to doubt either team’s prospects, but the Foxes have a legit chance to finish as high as that mark. Keeping Mahrez is an absolute necessity to those goals unless Puel thinks he can find the next wizard with an early sale of that fee.

Follow @NicholasMendola