The 26-year-old Algerian international was heavily linked with a move to City last month, when it was claimed a deadline day move to the Etihad Stadium collapsed after both teams couldn’t reach an agreement over a transfer fee.
An upset Mahrez would then go Awol, refusing to attend training and subsequently missed their Premier League matches against Everton and Swansea City. He will do so again this weekend, but Puel believes the winger is going to play for the club again.
“I think Riyad [Mahrez] will be not available for Saturday’s game at Manchester City,” he told reporters, according to the Daily Mirror.
“I hope Riyad can get his head right and to come back with us and to see for him the best way is to come back and enjoy his football.
“Riyad is a magnificent player and he loves football and his relationship with his friends and teammates. He needs to come back and play and to touch the ball.
“I hope he can come back and work hard with the team sooner rather than later. He is a great player, the bad thing for me is he loves the football – it is not just a player playing football like work.
“He likes the pitch and to stay after the training field to work and touch the ball. I think he will come back with a good attitude but when he comes back he will need time.”
Mahrez, whose present deal at the King Power Stadium expires in June 2020, has featured across 165 matches for Leicester since joining from AC Le Havre in 2014 and has registered 44 goals while creating a further 34.
His breathtaking 2015/16 campaign, which saw him register 17 goals and 10 assists as the Foxes claimed a historic first Premier League title, saw him named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year as well as becoming a household name and attracting interest from the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
A regular presence before this latest drama, Mahrez registered two goals and two assists in the Foxes’ opening 10 matches. Since the arrival of Puel, however, he has managed seven goals and five assists across 17 outings.