Riyad Mahrez is confident he can take his game to another level after finally joining Manchester City from Leicester.
The Algeria winger, 27, has been a long-term target for City, and moves to the Premier League champions on a five-year-deal.
The terms of the transfer were not revealed in Tuesday night’s announcement, but the fee has been reported to be in the region of £60million. Leicester said in a statement the deal was a “club-record”.
“I am so pleased to have joined City, a side playing great football under Pep Guardiola. Watching them from afar has been a pleasure,” Mahrez said on the City website. “Pep is committed to playing attacking football, which is 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.”
Riyad Mahrez (right) was a key player for Leicester.
Leicester rejected City’s offer of £50m plus winger Patrick Roberts – valued at £15m – in January, and Mahrez missed two games during the saga.
Mahrez was given extra time off by the Foxes after playing in Algeria’s international games in June and had been set to return to pre-season training before confirmation the protracted transfer had finally been concluded. -AFP
City director of football Txiki Begiristain is confident Mahrez will prove a valuable addition as the champions look to mount a successful defence of their Premier League title and succeed in Europe.
“Riyad is a hugely talented player. He beats defenders and creates space,” Begiristain said on the club’s website.
“Over the past few years, he has established himself as one of the Premier League’s most exciting players. We’re sure he will bring additional attacking quality to our squad.”
Leicester had already brought in cover with the £24m arrival of attacking midfielder James Maddison from Norwich.
Mahrez helped Leicester to a shock Premier League title triumph in 2016, scoring 17 times, and then played a major role in the club reaching the Champions League quarter-finals during the following campaign.
The Algerian, who signed from Le Havre for £400,000 during 2014, leaves the Foxes having made 180 appearances, scoring 48 times.
Despite the saga having at times taken its toll on the relationship between club and player, Leicester wished Mahrez well for the challenges ahead with Manchester City.
A statement on the Leicester website read: “In the four-and-a half years since Riyad signed for the Foxes, he has played his way into the hearts of all Leicester City supporters.
“His moments of magic will live long in the memory as the club and its fans continue to build a long-term legacy for the success delivered by the teams to which Riyad so memorably contributed.
“Riyad leaves with the best wishes of everybody who has worked with him at Leicester City Football Club. He will be welcomed back to King Power Stadium as both an opposition player and a friend of the club.”