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Mahrez, Man City share No. 1 goal: Win Champions League

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After winning the Premier League in historically dominant fashion last season — Pep Guardiola‘s second at the club — every new signing Manchester City make from here on out will be made, and judged, with one goal in mind: winning the UEFA Champions League.

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Guardiola and Co., won’t be splashing out $80 million for a player with the lowly intent of consolidating domestic power and merely hanging on to the PL title, Riyad Mahrez, who completed his transfer from Leicester City for that very fee on Tuesday, knows it. It’s why he’s at the club.

Having already led the Foxes to the unlikeliest of PL titles two seasons ago, Mahrez has bigger fish to fry, and his targets are perfectly aligned with those of his new employer — quotes from the BBC and the Guardian:

“The Champions League is for big clubs, they’re a big club, they have everything to try to win it.

“City have ambition to go further than the Champions League quarterfinals like they did last season. I made the decision to come here because I want to be part of that.

“Pep [Guardiola] is a big manager, he’s won a lot of things and made history with this club. I’ll give my best to achieve for the club.”

“I haven’t talked about my precise position with the manager yet, but City wanted me and that means a lot. The price tag doesn’t affect me — fees for players have got very big in the last couple of years. I am very happy to be here and will try to give my best for the club. I thought what City did last year was amazing, it was unbelievable to break all those Premier League records, but I am confident about myself. I want to help this team improve and I believe that is what the manager wants.”

“Players at top clubs always have to face competition for places, it is normal for big clubs to have a lot of great players and City are a big club with a big manager.”

Mahrez is an ideal signing for a side with Man City’s ambitions and embarrassment of mega-bucks talent. Sure, he cost the club $80 million — a club-record fee — and you can say that he won’t get enough games with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, David Silva and Bernardo Silva also in the team, but injuries will inevitably rear their ugly heads, and Mahrez’s presence will make City two-deep at three positions behind strikers Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero.

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The goal is to win the Champions League while retaining the PL title as an absolute bare minimum expectation. They made it look easy in 2017-18, but their pursuit of all-time records likely played a part in coming up short in European competition. City have an unfair advantage in terms of resources and weapons, but winning a treble (or a quadruple) would amount to a massively unfair achievement.

Man City sign Mahrez for club-record fee

Photo credit: @ManCity

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester City has signed Riyad Mahrez for a club-record $80 million as it further strengthens its team after winning the Premier League title.

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The 27-year-old Algeria winger was an integral part of Leicester’s astonishing run to the title in 2016, but has been pushing to leave the central England club for a year.

Pep Guardiola’s City, which won the league by 19 points in May, confirmed Tuesday evening that Mahrez has signed a five-year contract.

Mahrez will go down as one of the bargains of the Premier League era, having joined Leicester for a reported $530,000 from French club Le Havre in 2014.

Scoring 17 goals in Leicester’s title-winning campaign saw Mahrez voted as player of the year in England in 2016.

[ MORE: England “building belief” beyond World Cup ]

“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 City’s website.

“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 … I believe my own game can develop under Pep’s management.”

City director of football Txiki Begiristain said Mahrez “beats defenders and creates space … We’re sure he will bring additional attacking quality to our squad.”

Mahrez helped Leicester to a shock league title, and then played a major role in the club reaching the Champions League quarterfinals the following season.

He made 180 appearances for Leicester, scoring 48 goals.

Report: Riyad Mahrez closing in on Man City move

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The NBA has the Golden State Warriors, and the Premier League could be seeing a superteam of its own growing before its very eyes.

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Fresh off the PL title last season, Manchester City is on the brink of adding another star attacker in 2018/19, with a Leicester City man their target.

Sky Sports is reporting that Pep Guardiola and the Citizens are nearing a move for Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez.

The 26-year-old is expected to have medical with the club this week, prompting the completion of a $79 million transfer fee.

In five seasons with the Foxes, Mahrez tallied 48 goals in all competitions, including an 18-goal campaign in 2015/16 — which saw Leicester capture their first PL title in club history.

The Algeria international would become the latest star to join an already-loaded Citizen attack, which features Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane.

Transfer rumor roundup: Mahrez to Man City, Boro duo to PL

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As Manchester United reportedly triggers a release clause for a new right back, plenty of Premier League peers are seeking new players of their own.

Across Manchester, Pep Guardiola may’ve claimed City won’t be spending big this summer but that doesn’t man the champions won’t be splashing some cash.

[ MORE: UEFA name squad of the season ]

The Mail says Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, 27, will cost Man City around $100 million when all is said and done.

The champions are closing in on a deal for Leicester City winger Mahrez, with director of football Txiki Begiristain edging closer to agreeing terms. The structure of the fee to be paid to Leicester is still being negotiated.

Mahrez is under contract with Leicester through the 2019-20 season, and the club and player suffered through a Man City transfer saga in January. Is it going to go through now?

Middlesbrough could not find its way back to the Premier League during the playoffs, and now could lose two of its prominent players to top flight survivors.

Ben Gibson, 24, earned an England call-up during Boro’s last stint in the Premier League, but stayed with the club after relegation.

That may end this month, with Southampton and Everton pushing hard for the $33 million rated back.

Boro could also lose ex-Barcelona man Adama Traore, who also stuck with the Smoggies after relegation. Newcastle is said to want to keep the Spaniard in the Northeast for around $20 million.

WhoScored’s highest rated player in the Championship, Traore originally cost Aston Villa around $9 million from Barca before moving to Boro.

That $53 million could bring in enough fire power to battle Stoke, Swans, West Brom, and the legion of other Championship teams aiming for promotion.

Mahrez: Man City move is in the past… “I’m moving forward”

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Riyad Mahrez has been the subject of transfer rumors on numerous occasions since Leicester City’s meteoric Premier League rise in 2015/16.

Still, though, the Algerian remains at the King Power Stadium, and he’s prepared to put those rumors in the past.

The 27-year-old was on the brink of a move to Manchester City this winter, or at least it appeared that way, but Pep Guardiola and Co. weren’t willing to meet the asking price of Leicester, which kept Mahrez in the dark blue Foxes kit.

Mahrez didn’t initially take the news well, and even missed some time for Leicester after the deal fell through, but he has regained his focus as the Foxes push for a top-six position in the PL.

“I was away from here because I needed some time to think,” he told Sky Sports News. “It was a difficult situation but we moved on, everyone — the club, players, me.

“Manchester City is a good move for everyone, but it’s the past. I don’t really want to talk about this because it’s in the past. It’s behind me. If we start talking about this, it’s like coming back to this transfer window.

“Now I’m moving forward, trying to give my best for the team, and that’s most important.”

Mahrez remains under contract with Leicester until 2020, however, the player that has long been linked with various giants in Europe won’t commit one way or another to staying or leaving the club.

“In football players come, players leave,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m coming or going.

“We always talk between me and the club. Everything is good, so we will see in the summer if things come. At the moment I’m a Leicester player and I am good here. We are very far away from the transfer window.”