Riyad Mahrez has received a lucrative contract offer from Saudi Pro League club Al Ahli that could see him leave Manchester City in the coming days.
After a spectacular treble-winning season with Manchester City, Mahrez could be on his way out the club after having spent 5 years with them. The Algerian winger is on his way to become the next big-name player to join the Saudi League, in an extraordinary summer transfer window that has seen a mass exodus of European players making their way to the desert country.
City has already seen the departure of captain Ilkay Gundogan to Barcelona. They are also preparing to lose midfielder Bernardo Silva, although it’s in the Cityzens’ best interest to keep the Portuguese midfielder.
Riyad Mahrez to Al Ahli?
Saudi Pro League club Al Ahli has already secured the transfer of goalkeeper Eduard Mendy from Chelsea. They are also reportedly in pursuit of Liverpool’s Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino. Once it goes through, their main priority is to secure Riyad Mahrez from City.
According to The Daily Mail, the Saudi club is preparing to offer the Algerian magician a two year contract which will see him earn a staggering £43 million a year along with bonus payments. This would be five times what he is being paid now at Manchester City, where his current annual wage is approximateley £8.5 million.
Mahrez is said to be interested in the deal and seeks to see the dawn of is career at the Middle-Eastern club. He is currently 33 years old and, while still capable of giving good performances, is regularly benched and sees only a handful of in-game minutes. The fact that he was an unused substitute in both the UCL and FA Cup finals reportedly irritated him.
However, Al Ahli should be prepared to go into harsh negotiations with the Manchester-based club for the Algerian. Mahrez had only signed a contract extension last summer that ends until 2025. City could demand a hefty fee for the player, who has an estimated market value of £17.5 million.
Who should replace Riyad Mahrez at Man City?
Since Mahrez is also set to leave the club, Pep Guardiola will want to have a replacement winger ready. Though there are still no reports of any indication of City trying to get a replacement ready, they will do so in the coming weeks.
Pep likes to have good squad depth in his squad, and the departure of a player must be met with the arrival of one. There are many players who are similar in profile to Riyad who City can consider bringing in.
Bayern Munich wingers Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane could be considered solid alternatives to the 33-year-old Algerian. Sane actually played for City from 2016-20, and was a regular starter in Pep’s squad during his spell at City.
Gnabry meanwhile, also has Premier League experience under his bag, having previously played for Arsenal. Both stars are considered to be out of favor at Bayern and could be sold to City.
City manager Pep is personally interested in bringing Brennan Johnson from Nottingham Forrest. He is considered a perfect replacement for Mahrez and could come in for a lower fee than the others.
Manchester City have been keeping a very close eye on the Nottingham Forest winger Brennan Johnson.— Steve Kay (@stevek9KS1TV) March 13, 2023
Scouts have been sent to watch Johnson on numerous occasions this season according to sources.
Pep would see him as a future replacement for Riyad Mahrez.#MCFC #NFFC pic.twitter.com/s2ZDOUhnFM
City could also swoop in for two Real Madrid superstars Rodrygo and Federico Valverde. Though they are not for sale and considered untouchables, a good financial offer is thought to be able to change Florentino Perez’s mind. Ansu Fati from Barcelona could also be seen as an affordable option. The Catalans want to move on from him, even though the player doesn’t. Other options include Yeremy Pino, Moussa Diaby, and Giovanni Reyna.
City will hope to keep Riyad Mahrez. But, should they be unable to, Pep Guardiola will make sure to get in a good replacement.