Man City bolster defence by signing Dortmund's Akanji, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Man City bolster defence by signing Dortmund's Akanji

LONDON (AFP) - Manchester City strengthened their injury-hit defence on Thursday by signing Swiss international Manuel Akanji on a five-year deal from Borussia Dortmund.

Akanji will provide the Premier League champions with extra defensive depth after recent injuries to centre-backs Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake.

"I am delighted to be here, and can't wait to get started," Akanji, who cost City a reported £17 million (S$27.6 million) told the club's website.

"City have been one of the best teams in Europe over the last few seasons. They are brilliant to watch, play an exciting brand of football and compete for trophies year in, year out, so coming here feels like the perfect next step in my career."

The 27-year-old spent four-and-a-half seasons with Dortmund after joining from Basel in 2018.

Akanji is City's fifth summer signing after former Dortmund team-mate Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Sergio Gomez and Stefan Ortega Moreno.

Both Akanji and Haaland could face their former club on Sept 14, with Dortmund due to play City at the Etihad Stadium in the Champions League group stage.

Across the city, Manchester United completed the signing of Antony from Ajax on Thursday for a fee reported to be €95 million euros (S$133.1 million), making him the fourth most expensive signing in Premier League history.

The 22-year-old Brazilian international forward has signed a contract until 2027, with the option of an additional year.

The fee includes a potential €5 million euros in add-ons.

"This is an incredible moment in my career to be joining one of the most iconic clubs in the world," Antony said in a statement on Manchester United's website.

His fee is a record for an Eredivisie player, surpassing the €86 million of Frenkie de Jong's move from Ajax Amsterdam to Barcelona three years ago.

Ironically de Jong had been United's main transfer target for this season but they failed to secure him.

Antony has scored 31 goals in 134 club appearances for Ajax and Sao Paulo, and two goals in nine senior appearances for Brazil.

By moving to Old Trafford, he will be reunited with former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag, who has already brought defender Lisandro Martinez to United from the Dutch giants.

"Playing under Erik ten Hag at Ajax was perfect for me and my development," said Antony.

"His style of football and coaching brings out the best in me, and I am excited by what he has told me about his plans and ambitions in Manchester.

"My time at Ajax was fantastic and I will always be grateful for the trust they put in me, but now I am ready for the next challenge, and I can't wait to join my new teammates and play my part in bringing success to Manchester United."

Antony joins Martinez, Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and fellow Brazilian Casemiro as ten Hag's new recruits since he took over.

Veteran goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is expected to join as well from Newcastle United as back-up to David de Gea.

United have recovered from a dire start to the Premier League campaign and bid to win their third successive match later on Thursday against out of form Leicester City.

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