Opinion: With Riyad Mahrez in the squad, Manchester City can challenge for every possible trophy
Premier League champions Manchester City broke their club-record this summer to buy Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City. The deal was priced at around £60m, which seems crazy for a team that already has a well-stocked attacking department.
Mahrez is predominantly a right-winger who likes to cut inside on his favoured left-foot and unleash a shot or a pass to another attacker. He can operate either as a No. 10 or on the wings but he might not have the same effect.
The best example would be Manchester City’s first-half against Arsenal when the Algerian constantly cut inside to create space for Kyle Walker on the outside. As a result, they created a 2 v 1 situation, forcing their opponents to stay deep.
City have the likes of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva to play as wide attackers already. So, why did Guardiola add another player of a similar trait to his squad? Here’s the reason:
The possibility of challenging for every team accolade enhanced
Manchester City were immensely dominant in the Premier League last season, sweeping aside their rivals to win the league. However, they were humbled in a two-legged Champions League quarter-final tie against Liverpool, a team that plays similarly in terms of intensity.
Hence, in order to achieve European glory, City had to strengthen their attacking department to have an abundance of options at any given point in time. In addition, the FA Cup disappointment could have played a huge role as well.
Furthermore, with a good number of players returning late from the recent World Cup, it made sense for City to sign a player as versatile as Mahrez. For instance, the Spaniard utilized Bernardo Silva in central midfield and started with Mahrez on his preferred right-wing. Guardiola’s decision to do so could be attributed to Kevin de Bruyne’s late arrival after the showpiece event in Russia. Also, it must be noted that David Silva is injured.
Thus, Mahrez’s arrival has effectively made City look dangerous even at a time when they were without two of their stalwarts in central midfield. Credit goes to Bernardo as well for making the No. 8 position his own.
Therefore, signing Mahrez has not only made the Cityzens look more dangerous but his presence could also enable them to challenge for a treble or perhaps a quadruple.