Craig Shakespeare understands Riyad Mahrez's desire for regular Champions League football
By Andy Charles
Last Updated: 17/05/17 12:57pm
Leicester City boss Craig Shakespeare has no problem with Riyad Mahrez showing the ambition of wanting to play Champions League football again.
Speculation about Mahrez's future with the 2015/16 Premier League champions has refused to go away and he told Sky Sports last week that he wants to play Champions League football every season.
Leicester will not be involved in any European competition in 2017/18 but Shakespeare said the club would be aiming to get back to that level as soon as possible after a tumultuous title defence that saw Claudio Ranieri dismissed less than a year after lifting the trophy.
Speaking ahead of Thursday's clash with Tottenham, which is live on Sky Sports, Shakespeare said: "It can be interpreted in different ways.
"I think there's nothing wrong with ambition, whether that be from a player, a manager or a coach.
"Him saying he wants to play in the Champions League - I think you'll remember I said after being knocked out by Atletico, we want to experience this again. I don't see any problem with that."
Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has also been linked with a move away from the King Power Stadium, but Shakespeare said of the Denmark international: "His performances this season have highlighted he's one of the best 'keepers out there, and we are happy with him.
"He is happy with us, we've had no offers for him, so that's how I see it with him."
Talking more generally about the possibility of summer departures, he added: "I'd like to understand first why he wants to leave.
"You have to talk to the players. But until you get an offer there's no need to have that conversation, other than to know they're okay, there are no issues, they feel wanted. But it's important you keep your best players at the club."
Shakespeare's own future will also be under the spotlight this summer as his contract as interim boss runs only until the end of the season.
But he is not expecting to have to wait long after the conclusion of their final two games to find out where he stands.
Shakespeare said: "We've got two games left, it will come to a conclusion. I think the club know that it's important for forward planning that it gets sorted. So, my answer is [that] we won't have to wait long."