Mahrez hands in transfer request after £60m Man City bid

Riyad Mahrez Leicester City Watford
The Blues have moved following Leroy Sane's injury but know they will need the Algerian to force the Foxes to sell him before Wednesday's deadline

Manchester City have launched an audacious £60 million move to sign Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City before Wednesday's transfer deadline, Goal understands.

City's approach has turned Mahrez's head and it is believed he has handed in a transfer request in a bid to force Leicester into a shock deal.

The Blues' interest in Mahrez was first reported by a British national newspaper earlier on Tuesday and Goal can confirm that the club are working hard to bring the Algerian to the Etihad Stadium.

City insiders believe that any possible move will be difficult to conclude, but feel that their chances would be boosted significantly if Mahrez formally requests that Leicester sell him.

Mahrez has been determined to join a top European club for some time and it is understood that he will ask his employers to let him leave the King Power Stadium in January.

Sources close to the player have told Goal that a £60m bid was lodged on Tuesday. 

Goal reported during the weekend that 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.

Those City officials were keeping the third option's identity close to their chests and, as of the end of last week, they were unsure whether there would be enough time to conclude the deal.

But 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% or 99% chance" that City would do no further business this window, but sources have indicated that he is hopeful of overcoming the odds and bringing in Mahrez - but only if the forward pushes for it.

Since City's interest in the 26-year-old was revealed by The Sun, Goal has learned that he had been one of a number of targets that City had been monitoring with a view to a summer move, if they could not sign him this month.

Goal also understands that City are keeping their eye on Eden Hazard's situation at Chelsea, although they realise that they would have to fight with Real Madrid to seal his signature, and that is if the Londoners would even sell their star man to a direct rival. It is believed that there are at least two other names on City's wishlist for the position.

Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City

But the league leaders still hope to do business this month after ramping up their transfer plans around 10 days ago, having missed out on Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United.

The Blues are determined to be more decisive in the market, and have also decided that they do not want to be too active during the summer window, which ends before the 2018-19 season kicks off, and which will be disrupted by the World Cup.

Article continues below

Laporte was officially confirmed as a City player on Tuesday after the Blues paid the release clause in his Athletic Bilbao contract.

It is also believed that City will try until the deadline to sign Fred from Shakhtar. City had initially been willing to strike a deal this month but wait until the summer the bring in the 24-year-old, but since changing their transfer strategy they have been pushing to recruit him before Wednesday's deadline.

Shakhtar are determined not to let him go now, however, and City will have to break that resolve if they are to get their way.