Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request but Leicester demand record fee
The Algeria international has been targeted by City boss Pep Guardiola after Leroy Sane was ruled out for up to six weeks due to injury.
The 26-year-old would give City manager Pep Guardiola another attacking option as he chases glory in four competitions.
City completed the club-record £57million signing of defender Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao on Tuesday but seem certain to have to beat that price to land Mahrez.
City tabled a bid in the region of £50m for Mahrez on Tuesday but that was swiftly rejected by the Foxes, who are understood to be demanding in excess of £75m for part with their star playmaker.
Guardiola has been keen to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal.
But the Chilean joined Manchester United earlier this month after City baulked at the rising costs of a potential deal.
Guardiola was asked about the prospect of signing Mahrez, who was linked with Liverpool earlier this month, at a press conference on Tuesday to preview Wednesday’s Premier League clash with West Brom but was non-committal.
He said: “I have interest in a lot of players, good players. We spoke many times with the club to see what is the best with the players we have. Right now we have just three strikers, with Raheem (Sterling), for the next month or month and a half.
“Gabriel (Jesus) is coming back maybe in the next five or six weeks. We don’t have too much and we play every three days. We have to find solutions.”
When asked further if that could mean an approach for Mahrez, Guardiola said: “It’s not the place to talk about it. It’s so difficult. It happened with (Aymeric) Laporte because it was a buy-out clause. When you have to negotiate it’s always so complicated.”
Asked generally about deadline-day signings, before the reports of a firm Mahrez bid, Guardiola said: “I don’t know. I don’t think so but in football everything can happen. I am 95-99 per cent that nothing is going to happen.”