The Manchester City fans in the Transfer Tavern are expecting the transfer of Riyad Mahrez to be completed in the coming days, but they aren’t counting their chickens just yet.
The Alexis Sanchez transfer saga which consumed Manchester City for the best part of 6 months between the summer transfer window of 2017 and the January window of 2018 proved that nothing is certain in the transfer market, so City have every right to feel cautious about their pursuit of Riyad Mahrez despite recent reports in the Daily Mail which claim City could complete a deal for his services by the end of the week.
However, City are unlikely to be the only top team in Europe who are expressing an interest in Mahrez after his groundbreaking spell in English football. With that being said, Pep Guardiola and the City hierarchy would be wise to have a plan b in place ready to implement in the event that history repeats itself this summer.
Although he would undoubtedly command an extortionate transfer fee, City should monitor the situation of Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey (valued at £40.5 million by Transfermarkt) in the coming weeks whilst they attempt to complete a deal for Mahrez. At just 20-years-old Bailey is one of the most promising young players in European football, and his family ties to England may tempt him into a transfer to the Premier League in the near future.
There are plenty of parallels to be drawn between Bailey and Mahrez in terms of their style of play, but at this moment in time it appears the latter is preferred due to his experience in English football. Bailey is blessed with blistering pace and a natural desire to take on his opposite number, and his frightening ability in this regard made him a menace for Bundesliga defences last season.
Bailey ended the season with 9 goals and 6 assists from 30 appearances for the club and, considering his age, his end-product is only likely to improve with further exposure at the top level. It seems that City have their hearts set on signing Mahrez this summer, but if they hit a snag during negotiations this week they would be foolish not to immediately turn their attention towards the brightest young winger on the continent.
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