Riyad Mahrez has become the latest football star to move to the Saudi Pro League after completing a move to Al Ahli from Manchester City, it was announced Friday.
Sources told ESPN that the Premier League champions agreed a £30 million ($38.7m) deal with Al Ahli for Mahrez, who was keen to play in Saudi Arabia. The deal includes a guaranteed payment of £26m plus another £4m in add-ons.
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Mahrez won four Premier League titles with City, including a historic Treble last season. He made 236 appearance since joining from Leicester City in 2018.
“To play for Manchester City has been an honour and privilege,” Mahrez told City’s website. “I came to City to win trophies and enjoy my football and I achieved all that and so much more.
“I have had five unforgettable years with this football club, working with unbelievable players, fantastic supporters, and the best manager in the world.
“I’ve made a lifetime of wonderful memories and the manner of our Premier League title wins and the battles we’ve had with Liverpool and, last year, Arsenal, underlined our collective desire and mentality to be the best.
“Manchester City will forever be a huge and happy part of my life.”
Later on Friday, Al Ahli named Matthias Jaissle as manager on a three-year deal just hours after FC Salzburg sacked the German.
The Austrian champions released the 35-year-old from his duties after the ex-Hoffenheim player asked to join the Saudi club.
“We believe that a coach who is so intensely concerned with a possible change of club just two days before the start of an important season should not be there for this opener either,” Salzburg managing director Stephen Rider said in a statement.
“We want to start the new season with full energy and conviction. To do that, we need 100% focus from everyone involved.”
Al-Ahli, promoted as champions of the Saudi First Division League (second tier) last term, have also signed striker Roberto Firmino from Liverpool and Chelsea goalkeeper Édouard Mendy.