'Mahrez is a Leicester player' - Pep gives up chase as Man City's transfer window ends

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The Foxes put their foot down in the face of hard bargaining from the Etihad Stadium, and they will retain their star for at least another six months

Pep Guardiola affirmed that Manchester City's involvement in the transfer window had come to an end as he conceded defeat in the chase for Riyad Mahrez. 

Leicester City's intransigence in negotiating a sale for their star player finally prevailed on Wednesday, leading City to pull out of negotiations. 

The Premier League leaders had filed a bid worth £60 million for the playmaker, who even handed in an official transfer request; but it was not enough to move the Foxes, who Goal understands were holding out for a fee upwards of £95m. 

City's withdrawal from talks means ex-Athletic defender Aymeric Laporte is the only new face at the Etihad Stadium following the January window, but Pep refused to be too downbeat over the failure to land his man. 

"Mahrez is a Leicester player. I don’t talk about it too much," he explained to reporters after City dispatched West Bromwich Albion 3-0 on Wednesday.

"The transfer window is over so the guys who are here will finish the season."

Mahrez might be staying put, albeit rather reluctantly, for the rest of the season, but he was a notable absentee as Leicester were downed 2-1 in their midweek Premier League outing away to Everton. 

Manager Claude Puel, however, hopes that the Algeria international will put his disappointment behind him and continue to play a starring role for the Foxes. 

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“We will see with Riyad - perhaps there is some disappointment - but today we had to focus on the game," Puel explained to Sky Sports.

"It's always a difficult situation but I hope Riyad can come back quickly with a smile, happy to play for us."

City now sit 15 points clear at the Premier League summit after their win was accompanied by defeat for arch-rivals Manchester United, while defeat for Leicester sees the club drop to eighth behind Burnley.

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