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Man City target Raphinha as Riyad Mahrez replacement

Man City target Raphinha as Riyad Mahrez replacement

Manchester City are plotting a raid on Barcelona as the search for a new winger begins, with Riyad Mahrez linked with a move to Saudi Arabia.

Foot Mercato claims that the Premier League champions are considering a move for Raphinha, who has repeatedly been linked with a move away from Spotify Camp Nou.

The Cityzens have identified the Brazilian winger as an ideal reinforcement, with Mahrez close to joining Al-Ahli, having agreed personal terms with the Saudi club.

Following their exceptional treble-winning campaign, Man City are gearing up to lose several high-profile stars this summer, with a handful keen on exploring other challenges abroad.

Ilkay Gundogan has already joined Barca on a free transfer, while Aymeric Laporte, who found playing time hard to come by last term, has been liked with a return to Athletic Bilbao.

Kyle Walker has also emerged as a primary target for German champions Bayern Munich, while Bernardo Silva is pondering his next move amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain, Al-Hilal and Barca.

Reports had emerged that Man City boss Pep Guardiola was prepared to use academy graduates Phil Foden and Cole Palmer as replacements for Mahrez.

However, with Silva’s long-term future also in question, he has decided to recruit a winger.

Barca have been adamant that Raphinha is not for sale, with Newcastle United and Arsenal previously interested in the former Leeds United man.

Despite this, their financial situation could force them into a sale if an attractive proposal arrives.

Initial contact has been made between Man City sporting director Txiki Begiristain and Deco, who is Raphinha’s former agent and the current director of football at Barca.

Barca are willing to listen to offers for Raphinha despite the player’s insistence that he wants to fight for a place in Xavi Hernandez’s squad following a mixed first season in Catalonia.

His departure will lift a burden off Barca’s dwindling finances, with the Spanish champions needing to raise funds through player sales to balance their books.

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