News now: Pep Guardiola has already praised an ideal Riyad Mahrez replacement for Man City

Manchester City demonstrated last season that they are the best team in the world, and by the end of 2023, they might have the trophy to put that claim to rest.

Pep Guardiola once again used his tactical prowess to create a team capable of the incredible after a challenging start to the season. They may have shrunk to lanes this summer, but they are still leagues ahead of their Premier League competitors.

Manchester City News
Photo showing Pep Guardiola

The upcoming season appears to be excellent for the neutral, but it may be harder than ever for City to win back the title. Everyone has become better.

The nearest rivals, Arsenal, signed Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber while beating the Blues to Declan Rice. Manchester United has upgraded its goalie in addition to addressing other problematic positions, ushering the club into the contemporary era. An superb midfielder has been added by Newcastle. An entire South Dakota frontier town's worth of deadwood has been moved off by Chelsea, while Liverpool has greatly improved their midfield.

Read also: However, City, well, City have regressed. Probably not significantly. Although it's undeniable that they currently have a weaker roster than the one that won the treble in early June, the squad should be large enough to handle the departures.

Ilkay Gundogan, the captain, one of the key players in the clash, departed for Barcelona. Mateo Kovacic fits a similar mold and has increased the midfield's size, but it's not yet obvious if he can compete on the same level as the German.

Riyad Mahrez also left, but no one has yet arrived to take his place. Although paying £30 million for a 32-year-old is a terrific deal, City have lost a quietly significant player. One who consistently made a lot of goals and assists and frequently came through in crunch time.

On the right wing, it also leaves City weak on numbers. Although Bernardo Silva is the top choice, his future is far from assured. Phil Foden can function there, but it seems as though he will eventually play in the midfield. Although there is a chance Cole Palmer may have a bigger role next season, there is no assurance he will live up to his promise.

Mahrez didn't watch a minute of either the FA Cup or Champions League finals, so losing him might not seem like a big deal, but the Algerian really started a lot of games—far more than the season before, when he was the league's top scorer. Mahrez was a pure offensive outlet, and Guardiola valued him highly because of his skill at helping to dismantle defensive teams.

City have lost a dynamism without him, and they should still think about replacing him before the opportunity closes. Kaoru Mitoma is one player who might step in as that substitute.

The Japanese superstar had an outstanding first season, winning over England last year with 10 goals—many of them fantastic—and eight assists. In the final third of the field, Mitoma displayed lightning speed, mind-boggling technique, and a lethal touch.

Impressed, Guardiola talked to the 26-year-old before the preseason match with the Yokohama Marinos. He responded, "Well, I would say the impact of [Kaoru] Mitoma on the Premier League has been fantastic, when questioned about the caliber of Asian football. He is under the proper management, and his most recent season was exceptional. And have a look at what Japan accomplished in a very difficult World Cup group.

That is a strong recommendation, and Mitoma possesses the exact game-changing attacking ability that City would lack without Mahrez. The 26-year-old is mostly a left-winger, but he has also played on the right and appears to have no issue doing so for City. Additionally, it would provide excellent protection for Jack Grealish, preventing the need for another wide deployment of Foden.

With the addition of Josko Gvardiol, City's first goal is still to strengthen their defensive options, but if they decide a new forward is needed, Guardiola already knows who would be a terrific choice.

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