Manchester City have sent Atletico Madrid a bid for an attacker after deciding one of two five-time Premier League winners can leave the Etihad, according to reports.
City got their summer transfer business underway by landing Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea on June 27. The midfielder signed a four-year contract with City after Pep Guardiola’s side agreed to pay an initial £20million for him, plus £5m in potential add-ons.
Kovacic could soon be followed to City by Croatia team-mate Josko Gvardiol. City have agreed personal terms with the centre-back and have also sorted out an £86m deal with RB Leipzig. If the move goes ahead then Gvardiol will become the most expensive defender of all time, knocking Harry Maguire off top spot.
While Gvardiol could soon become part of Guardiola’s squad, the likes of Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Kyle Walker have been tipped to follow Ilkay Gundogan out of the exit door.
Walker is the subject of a fierce battle between City and Bayern after entering the final year of his contract in Manchester. Silva and Mahrez, meanwhile, have both received lucrative offers to head to the Saudi Pro League.
According to Sports Mole, City will allow one of Silva or Mahrez – who have both won five Premier League titles with City – to leave this summer. It is more likely to be Mahrez that departs, as he is four years older than Silva at 32 and heading into the twilight years of his career. Plus, Guardiola is eager for Silva to remain at City and help them win even more silverware.
According to reports emerging from Spain, including newspaper Mundo Deportivo, City have decided on the player they want to potentially succeed from Mahrez. He is Atleti winger Rodrigo Riquelme, who spent last season on loan at Girona.
Riquelme managed four goals and four assists in 34 La Liga appearances for Girona. While that does not sound like a hugely impressive record, his stats were good. As per WhoScored, he was Girona’s third-highest scorer and joint third-highest assister. He also recorded the second-most shots per game out of any Girona player (an average of 1.6) and managed the most dribbles per game (1.7).
Star’s huge development gets Man City excited
Riquelme’s season of ‘exponential growth’ with Girona – who are part of the City Football Group – has impressed City as they are now interested in him.
It is claimed the Citizens have sent Atleti an offer worth €15m (£12.8m) for Riquelme, 23. The attacker’s release clause stands at €60m (£51.4m) but City are hoping Atleti will accept far less than this.
Atleti have rejected the proposal, although they could do with offloading Riquelme as his sale would be a boost to Diego Simeone’s transfer kitty. As such, the two sides are expected to reach a compromise.
The Madrid-born starlet would love to make the switch. He has become unhappy at Atleti after being told he will not get regular first-team opportunities next season, despite his exciting performances while out on loan.
Of course, Riquelme would not become an immediate starter at City either as they have an incredible attack already. But Riquelme has seen how Julian Alvarez has still made an impact for the club and wants to follow in his footsteps.