Riyad Mahrez has finally completed his £60million move to Manchester City, becoming the club’s record signing weeks before their Premier League title defence.
Pep Guardiola wanted the 27-year-old from Leicester City in January but was willing to wait until the summer after a refusal to match the Foxes’ valuation.
Mahrez was granted a leave of absence from Leicester’s training camp in France over the weekend and underwent a medical in Wilmslow on Tuesday afternoon.
TOP FIVE MOST EXPENSIVE CITY SIGNINGS
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester) – £60m
Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao) – £57m
Kevin de Bruyne (Wolfsburg) – £55m
Benjamin Mendy (Monaco) – £52m
Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) – £49m.
The Algerian then headed for the City Football Academy where he officially signed a five-year contract with the champions, who have sent a message to their title rivals.
‘I am so pleased to have joined City, a side playing great football under Pep Guardiola,’ Mahrez said.
‘Watching them from afar has been a pleasure. 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.
think we can be successful over the coming years and I believe my own game can develop under Pep’s management.’
It is understood City were ready to walk away from negotiations as they reached a stalemate but sporting director Txiki Begiristain managed to deliver Guardiola’s top target.
The manager is mindful of the workload placed upon Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane last season and has afforded the latter a further week’s holiday. Sane will link-up with City in America next week.
Mahrez’s introduction in the attacking areas will allow City to rotate further as they attempt to go further in the Champions League and become the first club in a decade to defend the title.
Begiristain said: ‘Riyad is a hugely talented player. He beats defenders and creates space.
‘Over the past few years, he has established himself as one of the Premier League’s most exciting players.