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Dublin: 1 °C Wednesday 23 January, 2019

Mahrez reportedly hands in transfer request as Man City bid in excess of €57m

Manager Pep Guardiola has defended the club’s spending, meanwhile.

Mahrez wants out of Leicester.
Mahrez wants out of Leicester.

PEP GUARDIOLA HAS defended the huge spending by Manchester City since he took charge in the wake of the club-record deal for Aymeric Laporte.

The centre-back signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with the Premier League leaders after they activated his buy-out clause at Athletic Bilbao, which was valued at close to £57million (€65m).

Laporte’s arrival takes City’s spending to close to £448m (€511m) in the 19 months in which Guardiola has been manager, with roughly £206.25m (€235.27m) of that investment being made on defenders.

There could yet be further business done before the transfer window closes on Wednesday, with City reportedly keen on signing Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City to provide cover for Leroy Sane, who is expected to miss up to seven weeks with an ankle injury.

Former PFA Player of the Year Mahrez has reportedly handed in a transfer request in order to force through a move, but Leicester are believed to have turned down a £50m (€57m) bid.

Guardiola says he can accept criticism regarding City’s spending but insists it is necessary to improve the quality of his entire squad.

“Some clubs spend £300m on two players, we spent it on six players,” he told a news conference today. “Last summer, we had six or seven out of contract and decided to sign six or seven more.

You need to spend to stay at the same high level. Maybe one day we’ll spend £200m on a player. It’s up to the club how to spend their money; we decided to do it now. We might sign one or two in the summer.

“The inflation of the market, every player costs a lot. We spend the money on six or seven players while others do it on one or two. We accept criticism.”

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