Manchester City’s new £32million signing Eliaquim Mangala has joined the Premier League champions to bolster their quest for trophies. The 23-year-old central defender has finally completed a move which originally began seven months ago and he is keen to settle in and help the side build on a second Barclays Premier League title in three years. City first tried to secure the Frenchman in the January transfer window, but complications with the player’s third-party ownership meant it was impossible to complete within the month. Press Association With captain Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis, City’s established centre-back pair last season, sitting out the match as a result of their World Cup exertions with Belgium and Argentina, the makeshift pairing of Dedryck Boyata and Matija Nastasic looked less than comfortable. Kompany and Demichelis are likely to return for City’s Premier League opener at Newcastle on Sunday, but Mangala will provide important cover which was lacking last season, although it still did not derail their title triumph. Mangala believes he will adapt quickly and hopes the presence of former Porto team-mate Fernando, who City signed in June, and some other familiar faces will make the settling-in process easier. “It is a very intense and very aggressive competition. There are plenty of goals, so it is also really nice to watch and I can’t wait to get started,” the new signing told mcfc.co.uk. “The fact that Fernando is here is better because I played with him at Porto, but there are also other players that I know like (Bacary) Sagna, (Gael) Clichy and (Samir) Nasri.” Mangala is manager Manuel Pellegrini’s sixth signing of the summer having brought in full-back Sagna, goalkeeper Willy Caballero and midfielders Fernando, Frank Lampard (on loan) and Bruno Zuculini. He may be another foreign import – City had no English player in their starting line-up at Wembley – but the City boss is not concerned about where his players come from. “It doesn’t matter if they’re English players, American players, Spanish players. For me it’s exactly the same,” he said in the aftermath of the defeat. “In every competition we play I’ll play the team that I think is best to win that game.” On the arrival of Mangala, he said: “I’m delighted to have added a player of Eliaquim’s quality in the squad ahead of the new season. “He is already a fine player but in my opinion, he has all of the mental, physical, technical and tactical attributes to become one of Europe’s very best defenders. “Eliaquim is a player I believe will make an immediate impact in the Premier League, thanks to his physicality, his reading of the game and quality on the ball. “I think he will prove to be a great signing for us.” However, given the additional time for negotiations, the champions have been able to thrash out a solution to a complicated deal, the details of which have not become much clearer following its completion. Former club Porto released a statement to the Portuguese securities market commission indicating they were paid 30.5million euros (£24.4million) for 56.67 per cent of the rights of the player. However, Press Association Sport understands City have paid a total of £32million (40million euros) for the transfer. The intricacies of who paid what to whom is of little interest to Mangala, however, who just wants to begin a new chapter in Manchester. “City is a top club in Europe. For me, it was an important step to leave Porto and join Manchester City in order to continue my progress,” said the central defender, who has signed a five-year contract. “I want to win titles and I believe I can do this. I am ambitious and this is why I am here. “I’m very happy to come to England because for me the Premier League is the best league in the world.” Mangala brings much-needed strength to City’s defence, which was exposed in their 3-0 FA Community Shield defeat to Arsenal at Wembley on Sunday.
GREGORY DIXON/Herald photoTechnically the playoffs started last weekend, but it will be this weekend’s games that truly test the No. 1 University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team and offer it a chance to claim the WCHA championship for the second consecutive season.After easily defeating North Dakota in the WCHA tournament’s opening series, Wisconsin will face Ohio State Saturday with the winner going on to play in the tournament final against the winner of the intrastate battle between Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth.Ohio State will present a formidable offensive challenge to Wisconsin’s red-hot defense. Leading charge for the Buckeyes will be forward Erin Keys, who is second in the conference in points with 48.Keys will face a Badger defense that hasn’t allowed a goal in four games, spanning over 247 minutes. In fact, the last team to score against Wisconsin’s stingy defense was Ohio State.Unlike UW’s last two opponents, however, OSU has a potent offense, averaging 3.11 goals per game. A strong opposition on offense bodes well for Badger netminder Jessie Vetter.”It’s a lot easier to see more shots,” Vetter said of the transition between playing a weak offensive team and a strong one. “You’re just in the game throughout, and you don’t have to worry about keeping yourself warm.”Badgers head coach Mark Johnson has not yet announced who will start in goal Saturday and is not expected to do so until Friday night. The battle is between sophomore Jessie Vetter and senior Christine Dufour. Neither Vetter nor Dufour have seen too many shots this season, largely due to the play of the defense — a Badger strength all season long that will be integral in this weekend’s matchup.”It’s important as always,” junior defender Emily Morris said of the team’s defense. “We have a really strong defense and it will be key to our success as it’s been all year and as it will be hopefully in the future.”Ohio State is also strong defensively and is led by three all-conference performers — Lisa Bowman, Amber Chesson and Tessa Bonhomme. While the Buckeyes allow 2.31 goals per game, they have had trouble stopping the Badgers’ offense all season.Even though the Badgers have won all four meetings with the Buckeyes this season, three of them have come in hotly contested 3-2 games. This time should be no different, as Ohio State’s season will be on the line Saturday.While UW is a virtual lock to make the NCAA tournament regardless of this weekend, OSU, currently ranked 10th in the country, will need at least one win, probably two, if it wants to be one of the NCAA tournament’s eight teams.Playing against a team that is desperate for a win is never an easy feat, but the Badgers, as always, will be ready for the challenge.”We have to take it one game at a time,” junior Jinelle Zaugg said. “Ohio State is always a good match; they’ve always been a team that battles us. Coach always says the hardest team to play is a team you’re trying to eliminate. If we win, we end their season, and that’s never an easy thing to do. They’re going to want to win badly.”Wisconsin’s semifinal game will be the first played Saturday, meaning the Badgers will have the opportunity to scout the second game should they advance. Seventh-ranked Minnesota-Duluth is the only team to have beaten Wisconsin this season and No. 9 Minnesota is the host team, so both squads present their own challenges. The Badgers, however, say they have no preference about who they meet in the tournament finals.”I think either way they’re very good teams,” Vetter said. “We’ll have to compete and perform and hopefully we can make it to the [championship game.]”