Manchester City have been told it will take a “mind-blowing” offer to sign Riyad Mahrez from Leicester, with Pep Guardiola understood to be keen on adding the Algeria international to his squad after it emerged Leroy Sané will be sidelined for at least 11 matches. After missing out on Alexis Sánchez Guardiola has identified the PFA Player of the Year for the 2015-16 season as an alternative, with the 26-year-old understood to be keen on moving to the Etihad Stadium. But despite reports in France on Tuesday that City have submitted a bid of €68m for Mahrez, Leicester say they are yet to receive a formal offer and are not keen on selling the player they bought from Le Havre for £450,000 in 2014.
Mahrez could now attempt to force their hands by making a transfer request, although that is unlikely to be well received at the King Power Stadium after a similar tactic last summer failed to produce a move. Earlier this month Leicester’s manager, Claude Puel, said it would take a bid of £100m to persuade them to sell.
Guardiola’s change of heart appears to have been triggered by the news that Sané is expected to be out until the end of March after suffering an ankle injury in Saturday’s FA Cup win at Cardiff City. After the 2-0 win the manager said he expected Sané would be out for a month due to a horrific Joe Bennett challenge for which the defender later apologised.
At first Cardiff’s manager, Neil Warnock, stated that Bennett’s tackle was merely typical of English football. While Warnock has later changed his view, his first comments were put to Guardiola.
“He has more experience than me by far about the English football,” said the manager. “When he says that, what can I say? I was here 18 months and I think English football was not like this. My feeling is English football is not like this. But again Neil has more experience than me. He has spent all his career in England and that is why his opinions are his opinions.”
Meanwhile Manchester City have made Eliaquim Mangala available for loan, with Valencia, West Ham and Newcastle all interested in the France defender.