Sky Sports News have this afternoon revealed new information regarding Manchester City’s January move for Leicester star Riyad Mahrez.
Runaway Premier League leaders City made no secret of the fact that they were on the lookout for attacking reinforcements last month, after the MCL injury suffered by striker Gabriel Jesus was added to by Leroy Sane’s ankle ligament damage picked up versus Cardiff City in the FA Cup (though the latter has since managed a remarkable recovery).
The Sky Blues’ primary target was Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, but, as was widely covered in the media in one of the biggest January transfer sagas of all-time, the Chilean in the end opted to join City’s fierce rivals Manchester United, after the Red Devils blew the board at the Etihad out of the water with a stunning financial package.
It had looked as though Guardiola and co. had simply admitted defeat in their hunt to bring a new attacker to the club over the week that followed, before links between the Citizens and Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez came to the fore in a major way.
However, much to the frustration of both the Algerian and City, the Foxes rebuffed the rumoured £65 million bid on the part of the champions-elect on transfer deadline day, leaving the club with no option but to proceed with the attacking options currently plying their trade at the Etihad.
Reports in the days that followed claimed that Mahrez, who went on strike following the collapse of his proposed transfer, was informed by Leicester that the club could not sanction his departure due to not having enough time to find a suitable replacement.
However, this premise was based on the claim that City had waited until January 30th to open negotiations.
But, as per the aforementioned report from Sky Sports News this evening, the Sky Blues may not have left their move for Mahrez quite as late as Leicester have since suggested, possibly explaining the African attacker’s furious reaction to the saga:
Manchester City began negotiations with Leicester over the transfer of Riyad Mahrez more than a week before the end of the January transfer window. Leicester were open to discussing a potential fee. [Sky Sports News]
— City Watch (@City_Watch) February 15, 2018