Leicester finally land Jonny Evans after lengthy pursuit
The defender admits he could not turn down “ambitious” City.
Jonny Evans has admitted he could not turn down the chance to join “ambitious” Leicester as they finally struck a cut-price deal for a man they once valued at £23million.
The 30-year-old defender completed his move from West Brom to the King Power Stadium, subject to Premier League approval, for an undisclosed fee on Friday when he signed a three-year contract.
It is understood the Foxes will pay around £3million for the 70-times-capped Northern Ireland international after activating a relegation clause in his deal at the Hawthorns.
Evans told LCFC TV: “It’s great to join and I’m happy it’s all gone through. When this opportunity came up, it’s one that I couldn’t turn down. It’s an ambitious club, the owners are ambitious and everyone wants to push the club forward.
“I hope that I can give lots to the team and the club. It’s a great place to play football, the fans really get behind the team and the players are fantastic – these are all factors that made me want to sign for this football club.”
Leicester tried repeatedly to sign Evans last summer but their final bid of £23million was rejected by West Brom, who have also resisted overtures from Manchester City and Arsenal.
Evans made 96 appearances for the Baggies, who he joined in a deal which eventually amounted to £8million from Manchester United in August 2015, but did not figure in the final six games of last season under then caretaker boss Darren Moore as the club’s eight-year stay in the Premier League ended.
Evans was one of four players who issued an apology after an incident in which a taxi was allegedly driven off during a club trip to Spain in February, although Leicester manager Claude Puel is convinced he has got his hands on a leader.
He said: “Jonny is a player of great experience in the Premier League and to have him as part of our squad is fantastic news for the football club.
“He knows exactly what it takes, he is a winner and a leader. He will bring a great deal to our squad and I’m delighted to welcome him to Leicester City.”
The Foxes have turned to Evans as Puel looks to revamp his defensive resources this summer, with title-winning skipper Wes Morgan now 34 and Robert Huth due to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the month.
He is their second summer signing, following Portuguese defender Ricardo Pereira.
Belfast-born Evans emerged from Manchester United’s academy and cut his teeth in the professional game in loan spells at Royal Antwerp in Belgium and Sunderland, where he helped the club win the 2006-07 Championship title under Roy Keane.
He made his United debut against Chelsea in September 2008 and went on to play 196 times for the Red Devils in a spell which brought three league titles, two League Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup.