Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Man City stun Liverpool as Guardiola finds Mahrez replacement who rejected Klopp

Man City manager Pep Guardiola Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

A winger who rejected Liverpool and was Aston Villa’s plan B to Moussa Diaby has rocketed up Man City’s shortlist of Riyad Mahrez replacements, per a trusted source.

Mahrez, 32, recently signed with Saudi Arabian side Al Ahli to the tune of around £30m. The Algerian is used to lining up in star-studded forward lines and that won’t change at Al Ahli. Indeed, Mahrez will feature alongside Allan Saint-Maximin and Roberto Firmino at the club.

Mahrez had been a potent attacker for many a year at the Etihad, scoring at least 12 goals across all competitions in each of his five years with Man City.

Bernardo Silva was often chosen in the position against tougher opponents. However, it has been confirmed Guardiola and Man City are in the market for a direct replacement for Mahrez.

To that end, Crystal Palace’s assist king, Michael Olise, is known to be on Man City’s radar. Barcelona’s Raphinha has also been mentioned, though the Brazilian is already at his dream club.

Now, according to Fabrizio Romano, a new name has not only come under the microscope at City, but has rocketed up their shortlist.

The transfer guru tweeted Rennes livewire and Belgium international, Jeremy Doku, is the player in question. Per Romano, Doku “is one of the priority names being considered by Man City,” along with Olise.

Doku is right-footed, though does play on the right wing and as such, would be viewed as a direct replacement for Mahrez.

Man City could do what Liverpool couldn’t

Doku is coming off the back of a breakthrough campaign with Rennes after scoring a career-high seven goals in all competitions.

He had been installed as Aston Villa’s back-up plan if Unai Emery’s side were unable to land Moussa Diaby. However, once Villa fended off stiff competition for Diaby from Al Nassr, their interest in Doku subsided.

Doku was once heavily pursued by Liverpool who per talkSPORT, was even viewed as the long-term successor to Sadio Mane by Jurgen Klopp. Indeed, the forward came close to signing for Liverpool way back in 2018.

Doku was on the books at Anderlecht at the time and visited Anfield when exploring his next move. However, the Belgian elected to join French club Rennes instead and has since gone on to become a regular starter.

Liverpool have kept tabs on Doku since the snub, though alternate moves for the likes of Harvey Elliott, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, Fabio Carvalho and Cody Gakpo have ensured they’ve never made a decisive move for Doku.

Fast forward to present day and with Mahrez gone, Guardiola may wind up doing with Klopp and Liverpool couldn’t.

READ MORE: Guardiola stunned as Man City star becomes ‘desperate’ to leave for club where he’d replace costly attacker