Paul Wilson on 12 July 2018
Manchester City’s record signing, Riyad Mahrez, is confident he can not only break into the champions’ first team but also help improve it.
Despite City spending £60m on the 27-year-old, questions have been asked about where the former Leicester forward will fit into Pep Guardiola’s plans. City have Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva on the right flank and Leroy Sané on the other so the need for an extra wide player in not immediately obvious.
Yet not even City are likely to have broken the club’s transfer record for a squad player, and it is probably also significant that having narrowly failed to capture Mahrez in January, Guardiola was prepared to wait patiently for his chance to make a move in summer.
“I haven’t talked about my precise position with the manager yet, but City wanted me and that means a lot,” Mahrez said. “The price tag doesn’t affect me – fees for players have got very big in the last couple of years. I am very happy to be here and will try to give my best for the club. I thought what City did last year was amazing, it was unbelievable to break all those Premier League records, but I am confident about myself. I want to help this team improve and I believe that is what the manager wants.”
Mahrez knows he will have to adapt from being a regular pick at Leicester to proving his worth in a stronger setup at the Etihad but he is prepared for the challenge. “Players at top clubs always have to face competition for places, it is normal for big clubs to have a lot of great players and City are a big club with a big manager,” he explained.
“They have everything they need to succeed in the Champions League and that’s where I want to play. They want to go further in Europe each season and I am here to try and help them.”
Like everyone else Mahrez has been watching the World Cup this summer, keeping in touch with Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy and sharing the Leicester pair’s pain when England went out. “I think England deserve a lot of credit for what they achieved. They were a little bit unlucky in the semi-final against Croatia.”