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I was most expensive defender in the Premier League and won it with Man City… but now I just want to find a new club

HE ARRIVED for a British transfer record for a defender.

He was part of the team that won the Premier League with a record points tally.

This former Premier League defender is currently without a club
He spent the second half of last season at Saint Etienne
He was once Britain’s most expensive defender when he moved to England in 2014

But now the centre-back is a free agent and desperate to find a new club.

The French star spent the second half of last season with Saint-Etienne – but could not help the club avoid relegation into Ligue 2.

However, when that deal expired in the summer, he was unable to get a contract with another club, leaving him unemployed and working hard in the gym to stay in shape.

The defender in question is former Manchester City man Eliaquim Mangala.

Speaking to Get French Football News, he said: “My plan is to find a club and to find a club as quickly as possible.

“It’s my passion, and I’m motivated to give a lot more on the pitch.

“Football is where I enjoy myself. I want to be on the pitch. In terms of contacts from clubs, at the minute it is calm.”

Mangala, now 31, joined Manuel Pellegrini’s City from Porto in 2014.

The initial deal was said to be worth £32million but it was later revealed the full cost was actually £42m.

That made him the most expensive defender in Premier League history – just weeks after David Luiz signed for PSG for a world-record £50m.

He was a first-team regular in his first two seasons but Pep Guardiola’s arrival saw his chances limited as he slipped down to fourth-choice centre-back.

Mangala was loaned to Valencia in 2016-17 but the eight-cap senior international did make nine appearances for City’s Centurions in 2017-18.

Midway through that same season he was loaned to Everton but got injured and then joined Valencia permanently in 2019.

The Belgian and Portuguese title winner had two years back in Spack and then the short stint in France.


Reflecting on his mammoth transfer fee and how Guardiola changed things, Mangala added: “Everyone handles it differently. It is true that the value was enormous, and with that came expectations.

“There is this subconscious side that has its influence. I tried to balance that influence by telling myself to concentrate on what I had to do.

“I was part of this transition. I was there in the [Manuel] Pellegrini era. The club showed a lot of ambition. I was lucky to play with such important players.

“When I look at it with hindsight, as a child who wanted to play at the highest level, I achieved it.

“I had the chance to spend time with Pep, which was a key moment fo me because he showed me completely different things that I didn’t know about before, both in a sporting context and outside.

“When Pep arrived I was told I should leave. At the end of the transfer window, I was still at City.

“The coach came up to me very honestly and said, ‘You’re a very good player, it’s just that regarding the profile I’m looking for, for my style of play, you aren’t what I’m looking for.’

“After having played under Pep, I had more of a desire to become a manager.”

Eliaquim Mangala was a Manchester City player for five years
He lifted the Premier League title with 100 points in 2018
Mangala has eight caps for the senior France national team

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