Why Riyad Mahrez is wasting his career by moving to Man City
According to reports, Riyad Mahrez is set to complete his move to Manchester City this week. Manchester City made a number of bids for Mahrez in the January transfer window but Leicester refused to sell, despite the player handing in an official transfer request for the second time.
Pep Guardiola’s side have remained keen on the Algeria international, who scored 13 goals in 41 appearances for the Foxes last season.
Manchester City and Leicester are close to completing a deal worth around £60million, which would eclipse Man City’s club record, the £57million paid for Aymeric Laporte in January. But is Mahrez’s move to the Premier League champions the right one?
Guardiola’s City enquired about Mahrez during the January transfer window at the time when Leroy Sane was sidelined with a ligament injury. Sane’s injury meant City were devoid of his spunkiness and explosive pace on the left-wing and signing a player of Mahrez’s quality made sense then.
However, a deal for Mahrez didn’t materialise then and Guardiola soon found Sane’s replacement in the nimble-footed Bernardo Silva.
Now that all the players are fully fit and gearing themselves up, signing Mahrez could be a major mistake. City have enough depth in the midfield and the attack. Sane started as the preferred left-winger, where Bernardo Silva served his alternative.
A player of Bernardo Silva’s quality failing to make it to City’s starting XI shows the depth and quality that Guardiola possesses in his side.
Guardiola also had the luxury of using David Silva in the midfield and in the attack as per his tactics. Also, with the likes of Brahim Diaz, Phil Foden and Oleksandr Zinchenko raring to make their presence felt next season, City potentially have six players who can play on the wings in the upcoming 2018/19 season.
On the right, Raheem Sterling was a player reborn last season as he supplied a lot of goals and assists. After a blistering 2017/18 campaign, it would be criminal on Guardiola’s part to drop Sterling next season.
Also, the Catalan manager’s preference to have traditional wingers means Mahrez will rarely get a look in on the right-wing.
But a player of Mahrez’s pedigree who is running the show at the peak of his powers deserves to play regularly and not share minutes with a player. Above all, Guardiola stationing Mahrez on the left might frustrate the Algerian as he would not to be able to make the best use of his skill set and technique.
It would be a clear transition from the role he plays at Leicester, where he starts as a right-winger and cuts in onto his sweet left foot to create chances or take a shot on goal.
Only time will tell if Mahrez succeeds in adapting to Guardiola’s philosophy at City. There is a world of difference between Leicester’s style of play and Manchester City’s style of play and despite Mahrez’s precocious talent, he may not be the right choice for Guardiola.