Manchester City are hopeful of concluding a £75million deal for Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez over the next week, the Daily Mail reports.
Mahrez, 27, is a major target of Pep Guardiola’s for the second transfer window running after talks collapsed over a deal in January, leading to a distraught Mahrez briefly going on strike at the King Power Stadium.
And now it is reported that talks are progressing well and although terms are still to be finalised, all parties are hopeful of a positive outcome in the next seven days.
The Algerian winger has dreamed of playing for Pep Guardiola and he will bolster an already formidable attacking line. Guardiola has wanted to add another versatile attacker to his squad since last summer, and tried to sign Alexis Sanchez in January before Manchester United’s £500,000-a-week offer instead lured him to Old Trafford.
According to the Daily Mail, Leicester are also trying to sign Patrick Roberts, who is about to return to Man City after his second loan spell at Celtic, but that may be a separate deal with talks running independent of the Mahrez transfer.
Mahrez is expected to be one of two major signings in the summer, unless of any surprises, with City also hopeful of finalising a deal for Napoli midfielder Jorginho before the World Cup.
City’s title winning team is arguably one of the best squads to have graced the Premier League, but the addition of Mahrez and Jorginho would give Pep even more options going in the next campaign and fans will do doubt be pleased to see efforts made to continuously improve the squad.
Manchester City finished the Premier League on 100 points, 19 points clear of second place Manchester United and if Guardiola can keep the same team together over the summer transfer window and add some further depth, there is everything to suggest they will do the same again in the 2018/19 campaign.
The current group of Manchester City players broke many Premier League records last season, including the most wins ever, the most goals scored, the most consecutive wins and the best goal difference in the history of the competition. By adding Mahrez to the squad, Guardiola is creating more depth and will have great cover in the attacking positions.
The club already boasts tremendous firepower in the forward positions. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are the central strikers but out wide, there are many options including Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and even David Silva, who is happy to play centrally or from a wider position.
However, Manchester City have failed to make a big impact in the Champions League under Guardiola, a competition he failed to win during his time at Bayern Munich. Greater squad depth will help Manchester City to push on both fronts and the addition of Mahrez will allow Guardiola to rotate between the Algerian, Sane, Sterling and Bernardo Silva in the wide positions.
Mahrez scored 12 goals in the Premier League last season and also provided 11 goals for his team mates, which is a good return for a team which finished in mid-table. Sterling’s numbers are superior but Mahrez is on a par with Sane and should provide good competition to the German international.
Having competition for every place in the team is what Guardiola would like to see and the addition of Mahrez will bring that to the wide attacking areas of the team. It will give Manchester City the option to play two of Mahrez, Sane, Sterling and Bernardo Silva in one match and bring in two fresh players for the following game. This could prove crucial when there are Premier League and Champions League matches in the same week.
Liverpool have already been active in the transfer market with their signing of Brazilian midfielder Fabinho and also have Naby Keita joining from RB Leipzig. Manchester United will also be positive in the transfer market this summer and they have been linked with moves for Toby Alderweireld, Gareth Bale and Diogo Dalot.
City will want to keep one step ahead of their opponents and the signing of Mahrez, a player proved to deliver the goods in the Premier League, will allow them to do that.
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