As Saudi Arabian investments continue to pour into European football, even state-owned clubs like Manchester City are not immune to their effects. The departure of Riyad Mahrez to Al-Ahli has left a void in City’s squad, prompting the search for a suitable replacement. Let’s dive into the top three options that Manchester City should consider for the coveted right-wing position.
1. Raphinha – A Promising Alternativ
With rumors swirling around about Mahrez’s transfer, attention quickly turned to Raphinha. The talented Barcelona winger has long been on Manchester City’s radar since his days at Leeds United. Now, with a vacant spot on the right wing, this move could finally materialize.
Although Raphinha and Mahrez share the same position and a left-footed preference, their playing styles differ. While Mahrez thrives on silky dribbling and pinpoint passes, Raphinha relies on his explosive pace to cut inside and unleash powerful shots on goal. Pep Guardiola’s focus on ball retention with Jack Grealish might make Raphinha’s profile a valuable asset, and this transfer could prove financially sensible for both clubs.
2. Dani Olmo – Fitting the Guardiola Mold
Developed in Barcelona’s academy, Dani Olmo brings a familiarity with Guardiola’s style of play. While the Spanish midfielder might not be a direct replacement for Mahrez, some tactical adjustments could unlock his potential. Shifting Phil Foden to the right side to replicate Mahrez’s skillset would pave the way for Olmo to operate in his preferred position as a No. 10.
Olmo’s playing style is reminiscent of Bernardo Silva, making him an excellent choice if the Portuguese playmaker were to depart. His ability to create opportunities by weaving between the lines and strategically opening up defenses aligns perfectly with Guardiola’s philosophy. Olmo’s addition would enhance City’s possession-based game, further minimizing the chaotic elements disliked by the Manchester City manager.
3. Serge Gnabry – The German Sensation
While Serge Gnabry’s availability might be questionable, money has never been an obstacle for Cityzens. If Manchester City’s pursuit of Harry Kane needs extra financial support, Bayern Munich could be open to discussions. As a right-footed winger, Gnabry perfectly fits Guardiola’s preferred wide man profile.
Guardiola thrives on his wingers staying wide and using their stronger foot to cut in and create scoring opportunities. Gnabry has proven his ability to deliver goals and assists during his time at Bayern, scoring 14 goals and providing five assists in the previous season. Additionally, Gnabry’s prior experience in England with West Brom and Arsenal adds to his appeal as a potential upgrade for City’s attack.
Manchester City faces the challenging task of finding a suitable replacement for Riyad Mahrez. Raphinha, with his explosive style, Dani Olmo, the quintessential Guardiola midfielder, and Serge Gnabry, the accomplished German winger, represent the top three options for City’s pursuit. While the final decision rests with the club’s management, supporters eagerly await the unveiling of their new right-wing sensation.