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Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez rejected other clubs to join team

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EXCLUSIVE: Mahrez explains why he wanted Manchester City (1:55)

Riyad Mahrez sits down with ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent Jonathan Smith to explain why he joined the reigning Premier League champions. (1:55)

NEW YORK -- Riyad Mahrez has revealed he rejected interest from other clubs when Manchester City renewed their interest in him this summer.

City's move for the Algeria winger broke down in January when his former club Leicester City refused to budge over their £95 million valuation.

But Pep Guardiola maintained an interest in Mahrez, 27, and City secured a £60m club-record deal in July to become their only signing of the summer so far.

"It's good to have interest from clubs, and my choice was to come to Manchester City," Mahrez told ESPN FC.

"City is a big club. A big club with very big players and a big manager. Everything is good here to improve yourself and to win trophies."

Mahrez is one of the few City players to be back in training, with 16 of Guardiola's first team squad given extra time off after call-ups for the World Cup.

The 2016 PFA Player of the Year faces a fight for a starting place when the full squad is reunited in Manchester, particularly after City's title success in the Premier League, which they won with a record 100 points.

But Guardiola believes his side can get even better, with the Champions League remaining a top target, and Mahrez can help them to improve.

"It's really good so far, it's really good," he said. "We've trained good. We've been working very hard. Now we're on to the last two weeks before the first game, so we need to keep going, working and we will see.

"I don't know [what Pep thinks I can add], but if he bought me maybe he thinks this of course. I'm here, I'm part of the team, I'm part of the squad. I'm here to help with my quality and that's it.

"I think it makes it good because the competition improves the players, improves the squad, improves the team. It can only be good, I think, the competition."

Mahrez made his debut in the International Champions Cup defeat to Borussia Dortmund in Chicago on Friday and could make his first senior start in the Community Shield at Wembley on Aug. 5.

That could see him face his former teammate N'Golo Kante, fresh from his World Cup success with France, and Mahrez was full of praise for the midfielder.

"I watched the World Cup. It was a very good World Cup, and I think France deserved to win," he said.

"[Kante] is an amazing player. I think if he didn't have an average final, I think he would have been the best player of the World Cup. He has the quality that everyone knows. He's a top, top player.

"He's very shy, but he's a good guy, a good person.

"[I've] not yet [thought about Chelsea], but I think everyone will be back by then. I don't know about this, but we will be ready for the game, that's for sure."