Manchester City complete £60m signing of Riyad Mahrez from Leicester
Manchester City have completed the signing of Riyad Mahrez for a club-record fee of £60m from Leicester, the Premier League champions have confirmed.
The Algeria international handed in a transfer request in January, but having failed to seal a move to the Etihad Stadium, the 27-year-old was initially told to stay away from first-team training for a 10-day period by his employers.
Mahrez returned to the fold under Claude Puel on February 9 to enjoy another impressive individual season for the Foxes, and he has now been granted his wish of joining up with Pep Guardiola for the start of the new season.
Mahrez, who eclipses the previous club record of £57m when Aymeric Laporte joined from Athletic Bilbao in January, was announced immediately after the full-time whistle in France’s 1-0 victory over Belgium in the World Cup semi-final.
City posted on their Twitter account a short video featuring Mahrez with the caption: “The best things come to those who wait… #welcomeriyad to Manchester City!”
Mahrez was the subject of four failed bids from City in the mid-season transfer window, but he went on to score 13 goals in 41 appearances for Leicester last campaign.
The exciting winger has successfully completed his medical and will wear the No 26 shirt next season, previously worn by Martin Demichelis.
The announcement comes after City had seen a cash-plus-player offer of £65m rejected seven months ago, when Leicester were only willing to listen to offers of £80m to let him go in the middle of the season.
"Riyad is a hugely talented player. He beats defenders and creates space," City director of football Txiki Begiristain said. "Over the past few years, he has established himself as one of the Premier League's most exciting players."
Mahrez was named PFA Player of the Year in 2015-16 when Leicester were crowned Premier League champions, with him scoring 42 goals in 158 appearances across all competitions during his time at the King Power Stadium. With two years remaining on his current contract, Leicester have opted to no longer stand in his way.
"I am so pleased to have joined City, a side playing great football under Pep Guardiola," Mahrez said in a club statement. "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.
"I think we can be successful over the coming years and I believe my own game can develop under Pep's management."