Claude Puel open to fresh contract for Shinji Okazaki

Leicester City manager Claude Puel has opened the possibility of extending the stay of Japan international Shinji Okazaki. However, the Foxes boss has insisted that it is not a priority right now, and wants the 31-year-old to continue performing for the east Midlands outfit.

Okazaki was one of the many standout players for Leicester during the 2015/16 season, where they went against the odds to claim their maiden Premier League title. Unlike, other players from title-winning squad, he has failed to earn an improved contract with the club, though Puel is open to keeping hold of his marksman.

He said: “For this there has to be a discussion with the player and the club. It is not a priority for this transfer window. I think he is a valuable player for the squad. He is happy with us. It would be a good opportunity for him and for the squad if he continues with us.”

Okazaki started the current season in a purple patch with five goals in the first eight matches. He has, however, notched just two goals in the 19 outings which have followed. The ex-Mainz man currently has a contract with Leicester until 2019, and he will be hoping that he inks an extension in the summer.

The east Midlands outfit have mostly been reliant on the services of Jamie Vardy with the likes of Islam Slimani and Kelechi Iheanacho struggling to find their feet, and there is a distinct possibility that they could move in for a new frontman in the summer, given the significant package they may recoup from the sale of want-away winger Riyad Mahrez.

Leicester City are currently placed eighth in the Premier League standings with 35 points, and they will be hoping to at least jump one position on the table in order to earn a route to next season’s Europa League.