Manchester City have finally completed the signing of Eliaquim Mangala, who is set to be given an immediate introduction to English football.
Although Didier Deschamps didn’t call upon his services once during five World Cup matches this summer, the France international is regarded as one of the best central defenders in Europe. A host of clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester United, had been linked with the 23-year-old, but in recent weeks it has appeared inevitable that the player would join the Premier League champions, particularly as a video was leaked of him at the club’s training ground where he was said to be undergoing a medical.
City have now confirmed the capture of Mangala, whose sale Porto will receive £32million from. This is the second transfer dealing between the two clubs since the end of last season, after the Blues paid £12million for Fernando earlier this summer. The defender is pleased that he will once more link up with the midfielder, but he has also made it clear that he is already familiar with a number of Manuel Pellegrini’s players.
“The fact that Fernando is here is better because I played with him at Porto but there is also other players that I know like [Bacary] Sagna, [Gael] Clichy and [Samir] Nasri,” he said. “City is a top club in Europe. For me, it was an important step to leave Porto and join Manchester City in order to continue my progress. I want to win titles and I believe I can do this. I am ambitious and this is why I am here. I can’t wait to get started.”
Mangala is expected to line up alongside captain Vincent Kompany in what could be the most settled pairing City have had in the heart of their back four since the latter and Joleon Lescott formed a solid partnership in their title winning season of 2011/12. Martin Demichelis, who so impressed last term following his shock arrival, and the young Mateja Nastasic will provide back-up, although both are likely to get plenty of action.
The Blues begin their defence of the title when they travel to Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon. St James’ Park has been a happy hunting ground for City in recent years, having won six of their last seven visits, and it could also be the venue of Mangala’s introduction to the Premier League, after Pellegrini revealed that he expects an immediate impact from a player he initially tried to sign during the January transfer window.
“I am delighted to have added a player of Eliaquim’s quality,” said the Chilean. “He is already a fine player but in my opinion, he has all of the mental, physical, technical and tactical attributes to become one of Europe’s very best defenders. Eliaquim is a player I believe will make an immediate impact in the Premier League, thanks to his physicality, his reading of the game and quality on the ball. I think he will prove to be a great signing for us.”