Pep Guardiola’s failure to give a Man City star the right amount of game time has reportedly seen him plan a January exit.
The reigning Premier League champions sit in second place after 11 games. They are three points behind leaders Chelsea, who look set challenge them all the way.
City’s most recent outing was a relatively easy 2-0 victory over rivals Man Utd. They controlled the game for large periods and took home the spoils thanks to an Eric Bailly own goal and Bernardo Silva’s clever finish.
It was a welcome response for Guardiola following the surprise 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in their previous league game.
A majority of their key players are currently on international duty with their respective nations. Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish, John Stones and Kyle Walker have made Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad.
But it is not all rosy in the Etihad camp as French outlet Foot Mercato provide a report on one player’s struggles. They write that winger Riyad Mahrez wants more game time from Guardiola.
The 30-year-old continues to have a huge impact on the pitch but rarely gets to complete a full 90 minutes. He has done so just once in the Prem so far this season.
Mahrez also failed to make an appearance in the recent derby win. Guardiola instead went with Foden, Silva and Gabriel Jesus in attacking areas.
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Mahrez is now considering his future in Manchester and could look to move on this winter. He believes he has the ability to become an integral player elsewhere, just like he was at Leicester City.
The Algerian’s obvious ability means two European giants are weighing up a bid. They are Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.
Los Blancos are searching for new attackers as they look to part with Belgian flop Eden Hazard. PSG, meanwhile, are preparing for Kylian Mbappe to leave once his contract expires in June.
Mahrez would be a welcome addition to either team. He has registered 47 goals in 157 games for City since his transfer from Leicester three years ago.
Guardiola points out Barcelona pull power
Mahrez is not the only City ace who could leave in 2022. Raheem Sterling recently admitted he would be open to joining a club on the continent in search of a new challenge.
Barca are potential suitors, although they would not be able to afford a big-money move for the Englishman. When asked about the Sterling links, Guardiola said: “I have no idea, not that I know and obviously I wouldn’t tell you this either.
“We have too much work to do. But if Barcelona are interested in any of our players, I am convinced that… Barcelona continues to be an attractive club, more than attractive.
“The city, the club, the history and this for the coaches, for the players, always seduces a lot.
“If Barcelona are interested in our player, they will start the machinery, it is transatlantic. Barcelona, in the good and the bad, can do what they want.”
Guardiola won a host of trophies during a four-year spell as Barca manager. He took the reigns at Bayern between 2013 and 2016 before opting to link up with City.