Riyad Mahrez is facing a £200,000 fine after refusing to attend training at Leicester on Thursday.
Mahrez infuriated club officials by failing to report for training, as the fallout from his collapsed move to Manchester City threatened to become even messier.
Leicester are considering fining the winger two weeks’ wages after he missed a third successive day of training, with manager Claude Puel set to leave him out of the squad for Saturday’s game against Swansea.
Puel faces a huge task to reintegrate the 26-year-old into his team, though it raises the tantalising prospect of Mahrez making his return a week on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium if his attitude markedly improves.
Manchester City aborted their bid for the Algeria international on deadline day after refusing to pay more than £60 million . It has emerged that winger Patrick Roberts – halfway through another season’s loan at Celtic – was the player who Leicester suggested as a potential makeweight in the deal, when talks were advanced.
But Pep Guardiola had no interest in selling Roberts, with a decision on his future likely this summer, dealing another blow to Manchester City’s attempt to sign Mahrez.
Leicester have insisted they were prepared to accept a straight cash deal of £80 million for the 2016 PFA player of the year, insisting that figure represents his market value. The club’s owners believe that fee is a sensible one, following a January window in which Philippe Coutinho left Liverpool for Barcelona in a £142 million transfer.
Guardiola’s board were reluctant to pay more than £60 million – with Roberts valued at £15 million – and pulled out of negotiations on Wednesday afternoon, about six hours before the window closed.
Mahrez is now effectively on strike and failed to show for a scheduled training session on Thursday, less than 24 hours after his team-mates suffered a 2-1 defeat at Everton. Puel will address the issue on Friday at his pre-match press conference but it is thought highly unlikely that Mahrez will be involved this weekend.
Guardiola refused to rule out a renewed move in the summer, after City’s 3-0 win over West Brom on Wednesday. He said: “He’s a Leicester player. Everybody knows we were trying but we cannot afford, in this moment, this amount of what they are asking. I understand perfectly.
“We tried to do it in the summertime, we tried to do it now, but like summer, they locked the door. We are going to see what happens in the summer.”