Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte test positive for COVID-19
Manchester City have confirmed that defener Aymeric Laporte and forwrd Riyad Mahrez have tested for COVID-19.
City began their pre-season training at the end of August and have been slowly welcoming some of their players back from international duty. Regular tests are conducted to ensure that every player is safe to train and despite the two players not being part of the international games, City confirmed on their official website that the pair have tested positive.
They will now be kept under self-isolation until they can successfully pass a test. The positive is that both the players are in good health and have not displayed any symptoms. The players are expected to be all ready when the Premier League 2020-21 season begins as City have an extended pre-season awarded as a result of their deep run in the Champions League this summer.
City’s first fixture of the league was against Aston Villa but the game has been postponed to another unannounced date. City will play their first league game at the Molineux against Wolves on September 19.
Mahrez was impressive in his last season under Guardiola with increased game time and he consequently reflected it with better numbers.
However, with the number of options the Citizens have while attacking, Guardiola can still afford to lose Mahrez for a couple of gameweeks but with every game Laporte misses, the pressure will be mounting on Guardiola as Laporte’s absence was one of the biggest problems in Manchester City’s backline last season.
Rumors of Kalidou Koulibaly to Man City are also making rounds and if the deal is completed, Guardiola will be relieved as both his newly signed defenders Nathan Ake and Koulibaly could compensate for Laporte's absence. When fully fit, Laporte was an undisputed starter in Pep’s defense last season but a knee injury robbed him for the first half of the season.
The former Athletic Bilbao man still recovered in time to finish the season with 15 appearances in the Premier League. This means City can only hope that both the players test negative at the earliest so that they can join the rest of the team in training.
featured image credits- skysports.com