Manchester City have launched an audacious £60 million (Dh311.5m) move to sign Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City before Wednesday’s transfer deadline, according to Goal.
Mahrez’s name was first reported by British media on Tuesday lunchtime and City are said to be working hard to strike a shock deal for the Algerian.
City insiders believe that any possible move will be extremely difficult to conclude, but feel their chances would be boosted significantly if Mahrez forces the issue and demands that the Foxes sell him.
Mahrez has been determined to join a top European club for some time and it is understood he will soon hold talks with Leicester to make the case that they should let him join City this month.
Sources close to the player say a £60m bid was lodged on Tuesday.
City officials have been working on a third potential signing, possibly a forward, at the same time as negotiating deals for Aymeric Laporte and Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred.
And following Leroy Sane’s injury at Cardiff on Sunday, one which will keep him out for six or seven weeks, the Premier League leaders have stepped up their pursuit.
Pep Guardiola insisted during his Tuesday press conference that there was a “95 per cent or 99 per cent chance” that City would do no further business this window, but sources indicate he is hopeful of bringing in Mahrez – but only if the forward pushes for it.
The league leaders still hope to do business this month after ramping up their transfer plans, having missed out on Alexis Sanchez to neighbours and rivals Manchester United.
The Blues are determined to be more decisive in the market, and have also decided they do not want to be too active during the summer window.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has made an apparent dig at ex-boss Jose Mourinho, saying he is looking forward to playing attacking football as he prepares for his Arsenal debut.
The Armenia international, who joined the London club last week from Manchester United in a swap deal with Alexis Sanchez moving in the opposite direction, is likely to face Swansea on Tuesday.
Mkhitaryan struggled to pin down a regular starting spot at Old Trafford and was played in a variety of attacking roles during his 18 months at the club.
Mourinho has been criticised for an unwillingness to let his attacking players off the leash in big games despite the rich resources at his disposal.
Mkhitaryan, 29, said in an interview with UEFA back in 2009 that he wanted to play for Arsenal and he has now turned that dream into reality.
“Of course it’s very important to have respect from your manager,” he told Arsenal Player. “I know that he’s demanding and he likes his players to explore.
“He was one of the (reasons) to join Arsenal as well because everyone knows he’s a great manager.
“I’ve known him for a long time and of course it was not very difficult to make this decision to come to Arsenal, because I think the way that Arsenal play (make) it a dream for every player to come here and play offensive football.”
WHAT THE PAPERS SAY
Arsene Wenger may have to be prepared to lose the French striker to a rival in order to secure Aubameyang’s move, it says, with the German club pushing for a replacement.
Described as a “transfer merry-go-round” by some of the papers, it appears Dortmund have their eye on the Blues’ 24-year-old Michy Batshuayi and will only formally tie up the reported £60million Aubameyang deal if they get their pick of the Stamford Bridge striker.
Meanwhile, if Chelsea are unsuccessful in obtaining Giroud, the team are expected to target Fernando Llorente as a back-up, the Sun says. It comes as Antonio Conte looks to strengthen his attacking options, with Llorente long admired by the Chelsea boss.
He was among his targets last summer before the 32 year-old’s move to Tottenham and it is thought Spurs would be able to recoup the £12million they paid for the striker last summer.
According to the Daily Star, however, Chelsea are so keen on landing Giroud, they would be willing to let David Luiz transfer to Arsenal as part of a swap deal. The impending arrival of left-back Emerson Palmieri is thought to have given Chelsea the room to potentially let Luiz move away from the club and gain a much-needed striker.
Elsewhere, Emre Can looks set to move away from the Premier League as Juventus aim to bring the Liverpool midfielder to Serie A, the Daily Mail reports. Chief executive Giuseppe Marotta is quoted a saying that talks are “well under way” as the 24-year-old stalls over a new deal at Anfield.
Burnley are hoping to persuade Nottingham Forest to sell centre-half Joe Worrall for £10million, the Sun reports. Boss Sean Dyche has been impressed by the England Under-20 captain and has made the move for the defender, the paper says, with negotiations of payment structure said to be ongoing. Worrall has emerged as a young talent, scoring in Forest’s 3-2 win over Bolton last month.
Players to watch
Davy Klaassen: Sam Allardyce has suggested that the midfielder should seek a loan deal to ensure his future at Everton. After few appearances in the starting XI – or even on the bench – since his move to Goodison Park last summer, Allardyce seems to believe his game would benefit from more play time elsewhere.
Marouane Fellaini: The 30-year-old’s contract is set to expire this summer but boss Jose Mourinho has indicated he is keen to keep the midfielder at Old Trafford, the Mirror says. He has been offered a two-year extension to his contract but the Belgian is said to want a year longer than that and agreement over wages is yet to reached, the paper says.