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Micah Richards may well have sent a huge warning to Arsenal and other clubs interested in Leicester City star Youri Tielemans.

The Belgium international has been linked heavily with a move to the Emirates Stadium, with Goal reporting last month that the Gunners had already opened talks with the talented playmaker’s entourage about a potential move.

However, former Manchester City defender Richards has criticised Tielemans for his performances this season, claiming that he has been a shadow of the player he was last term.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: “Tielemans was, in my opinion, Leicester’s best player last season.

“I would look at that team and say, ‘He could genuinely be world class, or he is getting to that world-class level’. But this season he has been a shadow of the player that he is.”

The Arsenal-linked midfielder, who is valued at a whopping £49.5million on Transfermarkt, is into the final 17 months of his contract at the King Power Stadium and would solve one of the Gunners’ priority positions in the summer should he join.

Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers has previously admitted that the club needs to plan in case he does decide to leave.

“You always have to, that is key. I have said it before about the pipeline of players,” Rodgers said when asked if Leicester have to plan for the 24-year-old leaving.

“You always have to be looking ahead, that’s important. Sometimes it happens unexpectedly, other times you know where the situation is at.

“He is at an age and a stage in his contract where he has to ensure he looks at every option. I would love it to be here at Leicester, but I understand it’s a very short career.

“For players, it’s about ambition, the challenge and sometimes about a different environment. We have seen before that players will move on even after winning the Champions League.

“We have a close relationship, it’s really strong. I made a commitment to him when I first came in that we would improve him as a player and he believes in the environment.

“Once the players are committed, focused and professional it’s never a worry for me. You can see Youri loves being here and you have to respect these guys’ careers are short.”

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