Saturday, September 30, 2023

Manchester City Winger Looks Set To Exit This Summer: Should Guardiola Sanction His Exit?

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Ankit Seth
Ankit is a 24-year-old, aspiring to have his voice heard through what he writes. Charismatic and frankly moral, adhering to his principles and beliefs. Out to search for a purpose in life and yet to settle on that matter.

According to a report from The Sun, Riyad Mahrez, the 32-year-old captain of Algeria, is poised to depart from Manchester City this summer. An enticing offer from Saudi Arabia awaits the winger, who has seen his status as a first-choice player diminish under the management of Pep Guardiola this season.

Mahrez’s Impressive Form For Manchester City This Season

At the Etihad Stadium, Mahrez has once again demonstrated his exceptional abilities, delivering several match-winning performances from the right flank under Guardiola’s guidance. The talented winger, born in France, has contributed with an impressive tally of 15 goals and 12 assists in 44 appearances for Manchester City across all competitions this season.

Consistency has been a key trait for the 32-year-old in the attacking third, as evident from his average of 1.4 shots, 1.7 key passes, and 0.8 successful dribbles per 90 minutes in the Premier League. Moreover, his distribution in the opposition’s half has been excellent, with a pass success rate of 86.8% in league matches (stats via Whoscored).

Riyad Mahrez of Manchester CIty
LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 22: Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City celebrates after scoring the team’s second goal during the FA Cup Semi-Final match between Manchester City and Sheffield United at Wembley Stadium on April 22, 2023, in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Should Guardiola Sanction His Exit?

Mahrez continues to display his brilliance as a skilful dribbler, possessing the speed and creativity to trouble opposing defenders. The Algerian sensation has maintained consistent productivity in the attacking third, rarely squandering possession cheaply in the opponent’s half. While primarily deployed as a right-sided wide player, Mahrez is versatile enough to excel as a right-winger or even as an attacking midfielder in a central role when required.

Despite being 32 years old, Mahrez still possesses the ability to perform at a high level for a few more years. However, due to increased competition in the attacking department, the former Leicester City winger has seen a decrease in playing time compared to previous seasons. Therefore, a potential departure from the Etihad Stadium could offer better prospects for the Algerian.

If Mahrez were to leave, it would undoubtedly be a significant blow to the Sky Blues. Considering this, reports indicate that Guardiola has been impressed by the skills of Brighton’s 19-year-old Paraguayan winger, Julio Enciso. Enciso caught the attention of Guardiola with a superb long-range strike against City in a recent 1-1 draw, making him a potential candidate to replace Mahrez.

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