Man City close in on £75m Mahrez as Guardiola eyes early deals for champions

Riyad Mahrez looks destined to complete a £75million switch to Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola acting quickly again in order to strengthen for next season’s title defence.

The manager is eager to wrap up the transfer — possibly as soon as the end of the week — to mirror his fast moves in the market last summer.

Guardiola does not like to get involved in the mad scramble towards the end of the window and his tactics have the backing of City’s powerbrokers.

The champions are closing in on a deal for Leicester City winger Mahrez, with director of football Txiki Begiristain edging closer to agreeing terms. The structure of the fee to be paid to Leicester is still being negotiated.

Guardiola hoped to land the 27-year-old in January, with the Algerian falling out with Leicester before returning to the team.

Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey, 20, has also been considered, with Guardiola mindful of the workload placed upon Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane.

The two City wingers have played 103 games between them for club and country since August and both are heading to the World Cup in Russia next month.

The signing of Mahrez would be the first major piece of business completed this summer as City again look to set the pace.

Ederson and Bernardo Silva both signed by the middle of June last season, with Kyle Walker also having sealed a switch from Tottenham before the club’s pre-season tour of America.

Mahrez, not at the World Cup, should enjoy a full pre-season to acclimatise to Guardiola’s methods, with City heading for Chicago, New York and Miami in July. Napoli midfielder Jorginho will also be in the US should City secure his signature in the coming weeks.

Sources in Italy told Sportsmail last week that talks between the two clubs had been positive, but the clubs have yet to agree a fee for the central midfielder.

City recently walked away from deals for Alexis Sanchez and Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred because of the potential cost.

Chelsea are yet to make a bid for Jorginho, 26, although that could change if former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri succeeds Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge.