Riyad Mahrez wants Leicester to guarantee he can leave this summer before he will return to training, it has been claimed.
The Leicester star has not been seen for a week after his hopes of joining Premier League leaders Manchester City were blocked by his club.
City saw their £65million transfer deadline day bid for Mahrez rejected out of hand by the Foxes, despite Mahrez submitting a transfer request and asking to leave.
Since then he has failed to show up for training, amid claims from his advisers the he felt “depressed” that the Foxes had priced him out of a move.
And now the Times say he will only agree to go back to work if Leicester bosses give him an assurance he can leave the club this summer.
It is claimed his advisers are demanding a guarantee that the Algerian winger will be allowed to further his career if City – or any other major club – come in for him at the end of the season.
Leicester are unlikely to make such a big concession, knowing it would weaken their hand hugely in any fee they could command for the 26-year-old.
But there could be the potential for the two sides to insert a release clause in to his contract at the King Power Stadium setting a realistic figure which would trigger his departure.
Leicester made it clear they wanted £95m when City were making their bids last week, and they may have to reduce that asking price a little to satisfy the player.
The stand-off is threatening to derail Claude Puel’s plans for the second half of the season, denying him one of his best players.
Mahrez has already missed two matches since the dispute arose – the 2-1 defeat at Everton and the 1-1 home draw with struggling Swansea.
And unless there is a dramatic resolution found today there appears little chance he will be involved this weekend when Leicester travel to the Etihad Stadium.
The club are understood to have told Mahrez they will withhold his £100,000-a-week wages while he continues to stay away.
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Even if he returns to training today, the prospect of Puel believing Mahrez would be in the right mental state to face the club he wanted to join is unlikely.
So the earlier Mahrez is likely to make a playing return for Leicester would be the FA Cup Fifth round clash with Sheffield United on February 16.
The PFA have offered their services to help mediate between the two parties, and as it stands the situation looks a long way from being resolved.