Exclusive: Expert on the deal that may have seen Man City move ahead of Liverpool for winger transfer

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French football expert Jonathan Johnson has written in his exclusive column for the Daily Briefing about why Manchester City may have ended up beating Liverpool to the signing of Jeremy Doku.

Doku shone during his time in Ligue 1 with Rennes, so Johnson is well-placed to discuss how his career seems to be panning out, and he’s admitted he was a little surprised to see the Belgium international move to Man City this summer.

Liverpool had been linked with Doku, and Johnson feels that City perhaps stepped up their interest once it became clear that Riyad Mahrez leaving the Etihad Stadium was becoming a real possibility, with the Algeria international making the somewhat surprise move to Saudi Arabia this summer.

Doku has proven a fine replacement for Mahrez, but one imagines he could also have done a job for Liverpool, though they also recently invested in attacking signings like Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo.

“Jeremy Doku has made a great start to life at Manchester City since his summer move from Ligue 1 side Rennes, having been someone who was on the radar of top European clubs for some time. Having watched him closely in France, I admit I’m slightly surprised at how quickly Doku has settled and made an impact at City,” Johnson said.

“It was also a bit of a surprise when City went for him as Liverpool were quite strongly linked with him for a while, but a number of top teams were keeping an eye on his progression at Rennes, and perhaps the slightly unexpected departure of Riyad Mahrez at City basically brought Doku further up their list of priorities. Now he’s having an impact, particularly using his explosive pace if he’s coming on off the bench in games.

Jeremy Doku in action for Manchester City

“Doku has always had tremendous potential, but I’m still quite impressed at how quickly he’s adapted both to the demands of Premier League football and the tactical demands of a coach like Pep Guardiola.

“It’s now just a question about him staying consistent, and I think there’ll also be a desire to improve his end-product slightly because then he could really be considered an elite player, so I think that’s something Guardiola will focus on trying to extract from him in the next few years.”

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