Manchester City have finally brought the Riyad Mahrez saga to a close after he was unveiled at the Etihad Stadium in Tuesday night.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) July 10, 2018
The 27-year-old joins from Leicester City for a club record fee of £60 million after four bids failed to secure his services during the January transfer window. Leicester originally signed Mahrez from Le Havre for £400 000.
Mahrez has signed a five-year contract with the reigning Premier League champions.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) July 10, 2018
Speaking about the move, Mahrez had the following to say to manchestercity.com:
“I am so pleased to have joined City, a side playing great football under Pep Guardiola.
Watching them from afar has been a pleasure. Pep is committed to playing attacking football, which is a perfect for me, and City’s performances last season were outstanding. They’re redefining the English game and I wanted to be a part of it.
I think we can be successful over the coming years and I believe my own game can develop under Pep’s management.”
Director of Football at Manchester City, Txiki Begiristain said that Mahrez will be a great addition to the Champions squad:
“Riyad is a hugely talented player. He beats defenders and creates space.
“Over the past few years, he has established himself as one of the Premier League’s most exciting players.
“We’re sure he will bring additional attacking quality to our squad.”
Mahrez will keep the number 26 he wore at Leciester where he was arguably their most important player as they defied all odds to be crowned Premier League Champions two years ago.
Where will he fit in?
Mahrez will join a City squad that already boasts a host of attacking talent that includes Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva not to mention Kevin de Bruyne.
There is no doubt that the style of football Mahrez pays fits into Guardiola’s tactics, it will be interesting to see how he plans on incorporating all the aforementioned players.
Pep has shown that he favours a left footed player on the left which saw Sane become a devastating point of attack for City and so Mahrez could very well be up against the German for a place in the starting line up.
Mahrez however prefers to play down the right hand side and cut into his stronger left foot to try and bend it in from out wide and so Sterling might drop out.
This would mean that both wingers would be left footed players which has it’s benefits but means that crosses from the right hand side might not be as quick given that Mahrez would have to shift inside onto his left foot. Given that Pep likes quick and early ball on the attack, this might not work for them.
An alternative would be to see Sterling deployed as a false 9 or Jesus as the head of a front three alongside Sane and Mahrez.
It becomes the sort of situation where an injury to any attacking player actually makes selection easier simply because of the abundance of talent within the squad.
Mahrez has given City even more depth than they have before which is exactly what they will need if they are to defend their title as well as challenge for European honours.