Riyad Mahrez pays tribute to Leicester fans after Man City move

Phil Blanche 11/07/2018
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Riyad Mahrez has paid tribute to his former club Leicester and their supporters following his move to Manchester City.

The 27-year-old Algeria winger joined Premier League champions City on Tuesday for what was described as a “club-record” fee reported to be in the region of £60million.

“To all Leicester fans, we have made some amazing memories and history together,” Mahrez said on his personal Twitter account.

“Winning the Premiership (in 2015/16) against all odds was just something else and none of this would have been possible without your extraordinary support for me and the team.

“I want to thank all of you for welcoming me to the club right from the start and continuing to give me the belief and encouragement to achieve what we have together.

“I would also like to thank my teammates, staff and everyone at the club who have become a big part of my life in the last few years.”

Mahrez was wanted by City boss Pep Guardiola in January when Leicester rejected their £50m offer plus winger Patrick Roberts, who was valued at £15m.

“Now it’s time for me to move on and try to build on what I have developed here, but I will always remember my time at the club with great joy and pride,” Mahrez added.

“Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.”

Mahrez – who missed two Leicester games after his proposed January transfer collapsed – was given extra time off by the Foxes after playing in Algeria’s international games in June.

He had been set to return to pre-season training before confirmation the protracted transfer had finally been concluded.

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Switzerland winger Xherdan Shaqiri could be on his way to Liverpool as Reds begin talks with Stoke

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Liverpool are in discussions with Stoke about a deal for winger Xherdan Shaqiri.

The Switzerland international, currently on holiday after appearing at the World Cup, has a release clause in the region of £13.5million in his contract and the Potters are resigned to losing one of their most prized assets after suffering relegation from the Premier League.

Shaqiri is seen as a player who will strengthen a Liverpool squad by providing quality back-up to an established front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Fimino and Sadio Mane, and it is understood Liverpool have opened talks with Stoke with a view to taking him to Anfield.

Speaking about his future earlier this month, Shaqiri expressed his desire to remain in the Premier League saying: “Of course, I would like to play on the biggest stage in football. Everybody knows that.”

It is believed Stoke are interested in taking one of Liverpool’s youngsters, such as Harry Wilson or Sheyi Ojo, on loan and they hope doing a deal for Shaqiri may help get that over the line.

Ojo, who spent last year helping Fulham win promotion to the Premier League, scoring four goals in 22 appearances despite being sidelined for a time by a dislocated shoulder, has impressed already in pre-season.

The 21-year-old scored in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Tranmere and is keen to make an impression on boss Jurgen Klopp.

“From as soon as I finished my loan spell at Fulham – obviously, it was a good loan spell – I was just focused on coming back and trying to be as sharp as I can so I can impress the manager,” he told liverpoolfc.com.

“I’m feeling really fit and really positive and the games are going well so far, so I’m excited for what’s to come.

“Personally, I haven’t spoke to the manager yet but it’s been positive feedback in training so far and I’m just really looking forward to the rest of the pre-season. Hopefully I can keep impressing.”

Stoke want either Harry Wilson or Sheyi Ojo on loan if Xherdan Shaqiri heads to Anfield.

Stoke want either Harry Wilson or Sheyi Ojo on loan if Xherdan Shaqiri heads to Anfield.

Klopp has a track record for giving young players an opportunity and admits he would be foolish not to give them a chance to break into his squad.

“They have all the quality, you can see that,” he said after the friendly at Prenton Park.

“The boys, we need them. We play the games, we have the training sessions, and then let’s see how it fits at the end.

“But it’s all about the boys, my door is wide open so why should I make a decision today?

“I watch the games, I lead the sessions and then I make a decision at a specific point, but that’s not today and it’s not next week so we have still time.

“I would be really crazy if I would not give these boys a chance – they are fantastic players, they’ve played fantastic games, so we will see what happens.”

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Riyad Mahrez confident of taking game to next level under Pep Guardiola at Man City

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New Sky Blue: Riyad Mahrez.

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.”

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.

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.”

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