Mahrez joins Manchester City from Leicester

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Leicester City, Riyaz Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring the first goal for Leicester City during Barclays Premier League game at Liberty Stadium on December 5, 2015. Photo: Reuters

MANCHESTER: Manchester City have signed Leicester City’s Algeria forward Riyad Mahrez on a five-year contract, the English champions announced on Tuesday.

City did not disclose the transfer fee but British media reported the deal had cost a club record 60 million pounds ($79.6 million), more than the 57 million they paid Atletico Madrid for French defender Aymeric Laporte in January.

The 27-year-old Mahrez, who won the Premier League title with Leicester in 2016, said he had moved to The Etihad stadium for the chance to win more silverware and improve his own game.

“I am so pleased to have joined City, a side playing great football under Pep Guardiola,” said Mahrez, who played 179 times for Leicester, scoring 48 goals.

“Pep is committed to playing attacking football, which is a perfect for me, and City’s performances last season were outstanding. They’re redefining the English game and I wanted to be a part of it.

“I think we can be successful over the coming years and I believe my own game can develop under Pep’s management.”

Mahrez was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year after scoring 17 league goals in 37 matches as unfashionable Leicester shocked the soccer world by winning the Premier League two years ago.

He wanted to move in January and handed in a transfer request but ended up staying with Leicester when the club’s valuation ended City’s interest.

“Over the past few years, he has established himself as one of the Premier League’s most exciting players,” said City’s Director of Football Txiki Begiristain. “We’re sure he will bring additional attacking quality to our squad.”

Mahrez was born in France and began his professional career at Le Havre, where he played 67 times over three years. He signed for Leicester in 2013 and helped the club win promotion to the Premier League by the end of his first season.

Mahrez helped them escape relegation the next season before their fairytale run to the title as they finished the campaign 10 points clear of second-placed Arsenal having started the season as 5000-1 outsiders and tipped for relegation.


Written by Mausam
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