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Pep Guardiola coy on Riyad Mahrez replacement as uncertainly looms over Manchester City squad ahead of Arsenal showdown



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Manchester City are considering the prospect of signing a winger to replace Riyad Mahrez after his £30 million to Saudi club Al-Ahli last month.

The Premier League champions have bid farewell to Mahrez as well as former club captain Ilkay Gundogan after a treble-winning campaign but have so far added only midfielder Mateo Kovacic to their first-team ranks.

James McAtee, Cole Palmer and Oscar Bobb were amongst the academy graduates who featured in pre-season Pep Guardiola has indicated the last month of the transfer window could bring about a few loans for City’s youngsters and some senior arrivals.

As per Sam Lee of The Athletic, the Catalan said: “The market is open until the end of August. I think a few things or many things are going to happen. We will see if we need wingers or inside players, we will see what happens with loan players, which players stay here or not.”

Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise is understood to be on Manchester City’s shortlist of potential replacements for Mahrez but the European champions would be unwilling to go beyond the £50 million mark for the forward, who has also been linked with a move to Chelsea.

However, it is worth noting that despite having searched for suitable candidates to replace Mahrez on the right wing, Manchester City sporting director Txiki Begiristain is yet to find what he has been looking for in terms of wide forwards, as reported by Jack Gaughan of the Daily Mail.

A year on from selling Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling to Premier League rivals, City and Guardiola are unsure over how their attack will look like when the league campaign kicks off in a few weeks.

City Xtra reported last month that despite reports linking the club with interest in Barcelona’s Raphinha and RB Leipzig’s Dani Olmo, Manchester City had ruled out moves for the pair as their search for a potential Mahrez replacement continues.

The Blues are expected to close a deal for RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol this week, which would allow Aymeric Laporte to find a move away from the Etihad Stadium after falling down Guardiola’s pecking order last season.

Joao Cancelo featured in pre-season but the Portuguese is also expected to depart the club having fallen out of favour with Guardiola before joining Bayern Munich on loan in January.