Guardiola refutes Mahrez exit talk as Man City plan for the future with £60m record signing

Riyad Mahrez Manchester City 2018-19
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The Blues boss claims there is no substance to reports suggesting that the Algeria international is unhappy at the Etihad and weighing up his options

Pep Guardiola has rubbished reports suggesting that Riyad Mahrez could be moved on just 12 months after making a club-record £60 million ($78m) switch to Manchester City.

Having been a long-standing target for the Blues, the Algeria international finally arrived at the Etihad Stadium in the summer of 2018.

A Premier League title winner from his time at Leicester, the 28-year-old was expected to slip seamlessly into the fold with the reigning champions.

Mahrez was, however, always going to face fierce competition for places within a star-studded City squad.

The Mail have suggested that a lack of playing time has left a tricky winger frustrated and considering another move after just one solitary season in Manchester.

Guardiola insists that is not the case, telling reporters when quizzed on the Mahrez rumours: “Riyad will be here next season, and the next one and the next one.

“He's happy, we are happy.”

Mahrez has made 13 Premier League starts this season, while recording six goals and three assists across 26 top-flight outings in total.

It could be that he gets the chance to improve that record when City return to action on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola Manchester City 2018-19

A derby date with arch-rivals United at Old Trafford is next on the agenda for Guardiola’s side, with the Blues looking to move back to the top of the table by winning their game in hand on Liverpool.

The City boss expects a strong showing from United and had words of support for his rival in the technical are, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

“I expect the best United tomorrow, I am sure. They are proud. Prepare the game as always, see their strong points their weak points and try and win the game.

“I am close to Solskjaer, I understand his position perfectly. We are alone, we feel alone, I understand his position because it happens to all the managers around the world.

“It is the reality we have to accept it, if not, stay at home. I understand him perfectly and I am with him. I support him.”

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Guardiola maintains that the result is more important than bragging rights against United, with more value being placed on silverware that top billing in Manchester.

The Catalan coach added: “The question of dominance is about winning Premier league titles. It’s ok but it’s not the most important thing.

“It’s true that we’ve done better than them over the last three years but it is about winning titles, not beating United.”