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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Mahrez joins Manchester City from Leicester

Football Briefs: Mahrez joins Manchester City from Leicester

Last updated on: July 11, 2018 20:33 IST

Riyad Mahrez

IMAGE: Riyad Mahrez reacts. Photograph: Craig Brough/Reuters

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.

Sarri close to becoming new Chelsea boss - Napoli president

Chelsea are close to securing a deal for former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri to replace Antonio Conte as manager, according to the Italian club's president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Conte won the Premier League with Chelsea in his first season after joining in 2016.

However, his future at Stamford Bridge remains uncertain as, despite winning the FA Cup, they finished fifth in the last campaign and failed to qualify for the Champions League.

"Sarri is close to being new Chelsea manager," De Laurentiis told reporters during the unveiling of new Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti.

"My lawyers are in talks with his (Sarri) lawyers to finalise everything."

Sarri was replaced by Ancelotti in May with the Naples club seeking to end Juventus' dominance in the league.

The 59-year-old Sarri led Napoli to two second-place and one third-place finish in three seasons in charge at the club.

Chelsea declined to comment on the issue when contacted by Reuters.

Conte has one year remaining on his current contract and has already taken charge of the club's pre-season preparations at their Cobham training ground.

Dortmund sign Morocco full-back Hakimi on loan from Real Madrid

Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of Morocco international Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid on a two-year loan deal, the Bundesliga club announced on Wednesday.

An attacking full back, Hakimi started all three of Morocco's games at the World Cup in Russia before they were eliminated in the group stage.

The 19-year-old Real Madrid academy graduate made nine league appearances for the Spanish club under Zinedine Zidane last season, as well as playing five times in the King's Cup and twice in the Champions League.

"Achraf Hakimi is a young, very dynamic full-back who has played at the very highest level with Real Madrid and the Morocco national team," Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said in a statement.

Hakimi is new manager Lucien Favre's latest acquisition in a busy close season following the arrival of goalkeepers Marwin Hitz and Eric Oelschlagel, midfielders Thomas Delaney and Marius Wolf and defender Abdou Diallo.

He will join the Dortmund squad during the US pre-season tour between July 18-26.

Newcastle's Benitez keen on staying, but squad needs to improve

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez was keen to stay at the Premier League side for 'five or 10 years' provided he and the team's ownership can work in unison to improve their squad.

Benitez arrived at St James' Park in 2016 and led the team back to the Premier League and then ensured their top-flight survival last season.

The 58-year-old is in discussions with owner Mike Ashley over a contract extension, but Benitez has voiced concerns regarding the club's operations off the pitch.

"I'd like to stay here for five years or 10 years if it's possible because I can see the potential, the fans and the city. Everybody (needs to be) pushing in the right direction," Benitez was quoted as saying by Newcastle's Chronicle Live.

"But we have to do things like I imagine has to be done in a football club."

Recruiting new players has been the main point of friction between Benitez and Ashley during the transfer windows.

Newcastle have signed three players in the current window but Benitez is keen for further recruitment despite being hindered by a steep rise in transfer fees.

Hedge fund Elliott takes control of Italian soccer club AC Milan

US hedge fund Elliott Management said on Tuesday it has assumed control of indebted Italian soccer club AC Milan and will inject 50 million euros ($59 million) to help stabilize the club's finances.

Reuters, citing a source, reported on Monday that Elliott had launched contractual proceedings which could see it become the majority owner of the storied club.

Chinese businessman Li Yonghong bought the Serie A club last year from former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi with the help of Elliott.

Elliott also lent additional money to the team to fund the purchase of players and repay the club's debts with banks.

However, Li failed to repay Elliott, paving the way for legal action that could see Elliott become the new owner of the Italian soccer club, Reuters reported last week.

Li has been looking for months for new investors to share the financial burden of the loss-making club, which last month was banned from next season's Europa League competition because of its uncertain finances.

Elliott, which plans to inject further capital over time, said it aims to run a sustainable operating model that respects UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations.

AC Milan, a seven-time European champion, is expected to have closed the financial year to the end of June with a loss of 75 million euros.

Manchester City goalkeeper Gunn joins Southampton

Southampton have signed England under-21 international goalkeeper Angus Gunn from Manchester City on a five-year contract, the Premier League clubs said.

The 22-year-old, a product of City's youth system, spent last season on loan at second-tier side Norwich City.

"We believe he has all the credentials to become a full international goalkeeper for England in the future and that's exactly the sort of talent we want to have here at Southampton," manager Mark Hughes said on the club's website.

"There was a lot of interest from other teams in the Premier League, so for Angus to choose Southampton as the best option for him is another positive indication of the work the club is doing and what is being built here."

Gunn is Southampton's third signing in the transfer window after Scotland midfielder Stuart Armstrong and Mohamed Elyounoussi from Swiss club FC Basel.

Lorient's Guendouzi becomes Arsenal's fifth signing under Emery

Arsenal have continued their busy close season transfer activity by signing midfielder Matteo Guendouzi from French Ligue 2 side Lorient for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League club announced on Wednesday.

France youth international Guendouzi is new Arsenal manager Unai Emery's fifth signing and follows defenders Stephan Lichtsteiner and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, goalkeeper Bernd Leno as well as midfielder Lucas Torreira into the club.

"Arsenal have always been the team closest to my heart and a side I've wanted to join since I was a child," Guendouzi told the club's website.

"It gives me great pride -- it's incredible. I hope I can do great things here. It doesn't get any better than coming to a club like this, with so much history, like Arsenal."

The 19-year-old began his career at Paris Saint Germain's academy before joining Lorient's academy in 2014. He made his debut for the Ligue 2 side two years ago and went on to make 30 appearances for them.

"He is a talented young player and a lot of clubs were interested in him," said Emery, who in May became Arsenal's first new manager in 22 years following the departure of Arsene Wenger at the end of last season.

"He has big potential and gained good first-team experience last season with Lorient. He wants to learn and improve and will be an important part of our first-team squad."

Arsenal, who finished sixth last season, host defending champions Manchester City in the opening match of the new league campaign on Aug. 12.

West Ham sign Yarmolenko on four-year deal

West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini has continued his overhaul of the squad by signing forward Andriy Yarmolenko on a four-year contract from German top division side Borussia Dortmund, the Premier League club announced on Wednesday.

Yarmolenko's arrival follows that of midfielder Jack Wilshere, goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, defenders Issa Diop and Ryan Fredericks as new coach Pellegrini looks to improve upon a disappointing 13th-place finish last season.

"We are very happy to welcome Andriy," West Ham director of football Mario Husillos said on the club's website.

"When we had the opportunity to sign him, we did not hesitate, because he really is the kind of player that we were looking for."

The London side did not disclose the fee for the 28-year-old, although British media reports said it was around 17.5 million pounds ($23.2 million).

The 28-year-old enjoyed a stellar spell at Ukraine's Dynamo Kiev where he scored 137 goals in all competitions since his making his senior debut in May 2008. He is the second highest goalscorer for the Ukranian national team after Andriy Shevchenko.

West Ham begin the new league campaign with a difficult away trip to Liverpool on Aug. 12.

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