Opinion: Here’s why Man City’s £60m recruit needs more time to adapt to Pep’s possession football

Why Riyad Mahrez would take time to settle at Manchester City

Manchester City’s only marquee summer signing, Riyad Mahrez has had a slow start to this season with respect to gelling into the playing style. The Algerian winger, who arrived at the Etihad stadium for a club-record fee of £60m from Leicester City, has been brought to enhance the strength in depth in the attacking department.

The Premier League champions were irresistible last season when they steam-rolled past their challengers to become record-breaking winners. Now, the aim for manager Pep Guardiola would be to conquer Europe and dominate world football for a while.

Hence, the Spaniard has bought Mahrez, who is a quality player, to further bolster his already menacing attacking department. This will help the former Barcelona man to rotate his attackers in tough situations without compromising on quality.

However, Mahrez may just take little time to settle into the system at City. Here’s why:

Playing style and expectations

Back at Leicester City, Riyad Mahrez got space and time whenever he recieved the ball, as the Foxes played on the counter-attack. The Algerian was very effective in taking on defenders and delivering fantastic balls into the box. The first difference he would have felt at Manchester City is keeping possession of the ball for lengthy periods.

Now, the challenge for the 27-year-old is to show his trickery against deep-defending sides who are not willing to give him space or time on the ball. It is true that the winger is a highly talented player but tactically, he might take more time to adjust to the new way of playing under Guardiola.

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Riyad Mahrez

Secondly, the expectation level is contrasting at both clubs. With all due respect to Leicester City, they don’t expect their players to win Premier League title season after season. While at Manchester City, the world anticipates a win in almost every game they play. So there is a difference in expectation which Mahrez will understand eventually.

In simple words, if he has one or two bad games for Man City, the bench will be used to replace him. At Leicester though, he was the talisman, so he had a bit more freedom.

Read More: Pep could commit a huge blunder by letting go of £49m star amidst Real Madrid interest


It would be good if Guardiola can take time with Mahrez and not rush him to become a fantastic Manchester City player. The Spaniard can use other stars at his disposal while making the Algerian understand his role at the club.

The differences between the two clubs means the player would take some time to settle down. However, he has the quality to make the difference when he is fully equipped.

Written by Mizgan Masani

A football enthusiast, who loves to analyse the game in depth. Following various leagues and knowing about the playing styles of different managers intrigues me to the core.
Other than that, I am an Electronics Engineer!

Follow me @mizgans

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