Pep Guardiola‘s side had trailed 2-0 at half-time but came back to win 4-2 with Mahrez playing a part in all four goals, registering two goals and one assist in a display that was reminiscent of his best form at Leicester and City.
However, the 31-year-old will not be able to maintain that level forever and the Citizens will soon have to find a replacement for him on the right wing.
Fortunately, they may already have an ideal heir to the Algeria international in academy talent, Dario Sarmiento, 19.
The Argentine youngster joined City from Estudiantes in 2021 and arrived with a big reputation, with media in his home country labelling him a ‘Mini Messi‘ because of his stature and dribbling ability.
Last season saw Sarmiento join City’s partnered club Girona on loan and he would make nine appearances in the Spanish second tier, contributing no goals and two assists in that time.
While he is yet to make his debut for the Citizens, he still has plenty of time to develop at the Etihad, as his contract is set to run until 2026, and he will no doubt be looking to make an impression with Brian Barry-Murphy’s development squad this campaign.
Argentinian icon Juan Sebastian Veron certainly believes that the young winger has what it takes to make it at the top level, as he sang his praises in 2021.
He told Stats Perform News (via 90min):
“He has incredible improvement margins. To me, he has quality. Now a lot of clubs look for this kind of player, who runs on the flank. It is so easy for him to dribble his marker – not something so easy to see these days.
“He is fast, agile, nice left foot and great at dribbling, but he is still a project of a player. Will he become a great player? It depends a lot on him and on what team he will join to carry on his development. A lot of it is up to him.”
The fact that Sarmiento is a left-footed right winger who excels at dribbling also makes him extremely similar to Mahrez and should he progress well in City’s academy, there seems no reason why the young Argentine can’t replace the Algerian in Guardiola’s squad in the future.