x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Togo striker Adebayor a City man

They complete the deal for the forward, but the club's tour of South Africa gets off to a disappointing start as they went down to the Orlando Pirates.

Manchester City's Tal Ben Haim, right, tries to tackle Orlando Pirates' Siphelele Mtllembu.
Manchester City's Tal Ben Haim, right, tries to tackle Orlando Pirates' Siphelele Mtllembu.

POLOKWANE // Emmanuel Adebayor last night completed his £25 million (Dh150m) move to Manchester City and admitted he can't wait to play his part in the club's drive for success. The Togo striker signed a five-year deal as he became the third top striker to join the club, owned by Sheikh Mansour, this summer following the arrivals of Carlos Tevez and Roque Santa Cruz. City have not won English football's top-flight title since 1968 and Adebayor said: "I can't wait to play for City's fans and show them what I can do. "I have come here to make history for this club and those supporters. It is what the chairman and the manager told me that they want too and I can't wait to get started. I was born to play football and that is what I want to do." The City manager Mark Hughes was delighted to land the big frontman and now has a luxury of attacking riches at his disposal. "Along with the other signings we have made in the last two windows he will greatly enhance our ability to compete with the top sides," he said. "His arrival is another clear indication that we are determined to augment the players we have here with the best of international talent."

Adebayor will now join his teammates on their South African tour and City now have a frontline that will be the envy of their rivals. Craig Bellamy, who joined in January, is relishing the challenge for a first team place. He said: "I knew what was going to happen when I signed. I knew they were a club looking to progress and sign players and that was why I joined. I have just turned 30 and this is my last chance of winning trophies. That's what I wanted to be part of. "If I'm fit I feel I am more than capable of fighting for my place. I put myself under pressure to be as successful as I can." Bellamy made his return to the City side in yesterday's opening game of the Vodacom Challenge after a knee injury ended his season early back in April. But with Tevez, Santa Cruz and fellow new signing Gareth Barry not risked, City's tour got off to a disappointing start as they went down 2-0 to the Orlando Pirates. On Nelson Mandela's birthday, it was the Soweto-based side who celebrated. They took the lead in the 36th minute when City's young centre-back Ben Mee was adjudged to have fouled Frank Olivier. Lucas Thwala stepped up squeeze the penalty past Stuart Taylor. Valeri Bojinov did force Moeneeb Josephs into a fine flying save before somehow heading Javier Garrido's left-wing cross wide with the goal gaping. But it was the lively Pirates who claimed a second goal in the 55th minute when Phenyo Mogale struck a stunning 25-yard shot past Taylor.

Back in England, while Adebayor was signing for City Arsenal were held to a draw by Barnet in yesterday's traditional pre-season friendly. Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky made his first appearance since Jan 2008 following his recovery from serious hamstring and knee injuries.

Meanwhile, Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed he would welcome a move to Barcelona if the two clubs reach an agreement. Barcelona president Joan Laporta has claimed a deal had been struck to send the Swedish forward to the European champions after spending the past few days in negotiations with his Inter counterpart Massimo Moratti.

Despite that, there is yet to be any official confirmation of the deal, which will apparently see Inter receive ?45million (Dh233m) as well as land Samuel Eto'o. Winger Alexander Hleb is also reported to be a part of the deal with the Belorussian joining on a season-long loan. Ibrahimovic, 27, has maintained he would be content to remain at the San Siro. Speaking to Swedish tabloid Expressen from Inter's pre-season trip to the USA, he said he was not looking to engineer a move to Spain. "There's a chance that I'll go to Barcelona if a concrete offer is made. In this case it would be interesting for me," he said. "It's up to Inter to decide what they want to do. I respect my contract. I am happy to be here."

akhan@thenational.ae