Manchester City have confirmed the signing of Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez from Leicester for an undisclosed fee.
The 27-year-old has been a long-term target for City, and moves to the Premier League champions on a five-year-deal for a fee believed to be in the region of £60m.
“I am so pleased to have joined City, a side playing great football under Pep Guardiola. They’re redefining the English game and I wanted to be a part of it,” Mahrez said on his new club’s website.
Leicester rejected City’s offer of £50m plus winger Patrick Roberts – valued at £15m – in January, and Mahrez missed two games during the saga.
The terms of the transfer were not revealed in Tuesday night’s announcement, but a fee has been reported to be in the region of some £60m. Leicester said in a statement the deal was a “club-record fee”.
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 of his move to City.
The winger is confident he can take his game to another level at the Etihad Stadium.
“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,” he said on the club’s official website.
“I think we can be successful over the coming years and I believe my own game can develop under Pep’s management.”
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 club wished him all the best in his new adventure.
“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,” a statement read.
“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.”