Riyad Mahrez was Manchester City’s only first-team signing of the summer but, if the Citizens’ transfer window in January had gone differently, the circumstances for the Algerian to join the club may have never arrived.
Pep Guardiola’s pursuit of Alexis Sanchez before he joined rivals Manchester United was well-documented, and Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has now explained why a deal to bring Sanchez to the Etihad never materialised.
Speaking in the Premier League champions’ newly-released fly-on-the-wall documentary on Amazon, Al Mubarak said: “We identified him [Sanchez] as a player that was a good fit for this club.
“Pep was very keen to have him join (in 2017) but it didn’t happen. We looked at the situation again in January but the situation changed for us from how we looked at it in the summer and how we looked at it in the winter.
“And the reality is the economics simply didn’t work any more.” (via TEAMtalk).
Given how long Manchester City were chasing £63m-rated (via Transfermarkt) Sanchez and the fact that he ended up at their city rivals, losing out on the Chilean may have seemed like a huge blow at the time.
However, it had no consequences in the title race and looking back at some of Sanchez’s performances in a red shirt, he has shown nothing to suggest he is more worthy of a spot in Guardiola’s side over the likes of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero.
The trio made massive contributions in front of goal as Manchester City strolled to their third Premier League title, while Guardiola also had Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva to call upon when assembling his attack in that record-breaking season.
And now with the addition of Mahrez, missing out on Sanchez is even less significant.