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With the window set to close this evening, there is the typically frenzied coverage of the climax of the winter spending season and the gossip surrounding Manchester City focuses on Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez.
The Daily Star lead the way, claiming that while the Blues are in talks for the Algerian winger, a deal is still some way off.
Jeremy Cross and Dave Armitage write: “Manchester City will have to stump up £70m to land Riyad Mahrez before tonight’s transfer deadline.
“Leicester have rejected an initial bid of £50m for Mahrez and have told Etihad bosses to meet their valuation or forget about signing the Algerian ace.
“Mahrez, 26, handed in a transfer request last night and is determined to join Pep Guardiola’s Premier League leaders.
“But with less than 24 hours before the transfer window closes it remains to be seen if a deal can be struck in time.”
There’s a different take on proceedings over at The Guardian, who suggest discussions are not as far as advanced as some are reporting.
Writes Jamie Jackson and Stuart James: “Despite reports in France on Tuesday that City have submitted a bid of €68m for Mahrez, Leicester say they are yet to receive a formal offer and are not keen on selling the player they bought from Le Havre for £450,000 in 2014.
“According to reports, Mahrez has now attempted to force their hand by making a transfer request, although that is unlikely to be well received at the King Power Stadium after a similar tactic last summer failed to produce a move.
“Earlier this month Leicester’s manager, Claude Puel, said it would take a bid of £100m to persuade them to sell.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail agree that a deal close to £100m would be required if City are to prise Mahrez from the Foxes.
In their report, they claim: “Leicester's Algeria winger has put in a transfer request after City, who signed Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao for £57million on Tuesday, had a surprise bid of £50m rejected.
“Leicester want nearly twice that for Mahrez, who has two-and-a-half years left on his £100,000-a-week contract.
“The 26-year-old is desperate to leave and did not train with the rest of his team-mates on Tuesday.
“Mahrez may refuse to play at Everton on Wednesday night to force through a move as the clock ticks down on the January window.”
That’s all for today, Blues, but stay tuned throughout the day for all the build up to tonight’s game against West Brom
That’s the verdict of Pep Guardiola, though the Catalan admits he is unsure whether the necessary paperwork will be completed in time for his new signing to play against West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old has agreed a three-and-a-half-year deal but will immediately join Championship outfit, Middlesbrough, on loan until the end of the 2017/18 season.