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Claude Puel wants to keep Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani at Leicester City but has admitted Ahmed Musa could leave in January.

Leicester’s record signing Slimani, who cost £29.7m when he arrived from Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2016, has made just two Premier League starts this season.

With Jamie Vardy out with a groin injury, Slimani was handed the chance to lead the line in Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup.

The Algeria international could not find the net but, despite his peripheral role this season, Puel is keen to hold onto him.

“This period is always a difficult period with speculation about different players,” Puel said.

“I am happy with ‘Slim’. We have a lot of strikers and offensive players and we need to have good balance to give them game time.”

Liverpool have been linked with a move for Mahrez as a replacement for Barcelona-bound Philippe Coutinho but Sky reports the Reds are not interested in signing him.

That is fine with Puel, who is very pleased with Mahrez’s form – he has scored five goals and registered four assists in his last nine league games – in recent weeks.

“I am happy with him and I think he is enjoying his football,” Puel said. “He is happy to play with this team.

“We are trying to develop good play on the floor and he likes this. He has good results with assists and goals in recent games.

“I think it is important he keeps this focus and concentration until the end of the season.”

One player who could be on the way out of the King Power Stadium is Nigeria international Musa, who failed to earn even a place on the bench against Fleetwood, despite Puel resting a number of starters.

When asked if Musa might go in January, Puel replied: “We will see. Perhaps it could be a possibility. We will see with the player and the opportunity for the club also.

“I need to have discussions about some players.”

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