Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez has decided against having a summer break between the end of the Africa Cup of Nations and the start of the Premier League season, but he may not be able to take the field for his Premier League side anyway.
According to reports in England, Manchester City is awaiting clearance from doctors to ensure that Mahrez won’t be suspended and the club have a game forfeited should he take the field on Saturday against West Ham in the opening fixture of the 2019-2020 Premier League season. Mahrez reportedly took a substance to help with a sinus issue while in Algeria after his nation captured the 2019 AFCON title. However, it’s unclear what the substance was or whether it will come back positive after a drug test that players routinely have to take to prove they are clean of banned substances.
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The FA has reportedly approved Mahrez to play but it’s unclear whether the Premier League will also clear the former Leicester City star.
Following Man City’s win on penalty kicks over Liverpool in the Community Shield on Sunday, Man City manager Pep Guardiola said that he had hoped Mahrez would be cleared to play on Saturday. However, now, with the injury to Leroy Sane, Man City are a little short in top talent on the wing.
We could still see Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva set up out wide, and even Oleksandr Zinchenko can play wide left. But having no Mahrez even on the bench is a blow to Man City as it begins it’s latest title defense.