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Paraguay striker Santa Cruz signs for Man City

PARAGUAY striker Roque Santa Cruz has been reunited with manager Mark Hughes after joining Manchester City from Blackburn.

Santa Cruz signed a contract with Man City yesterday in a deal that is reportedly worth 18 million pounds (US$30 million).

"It was really important that we signed him because it's an area of the squad that we have needed to address for some time," Hughes said. "The qualities Roque brings will be of great benefit. His ability in the air and his physical presence are things we have been missing. But he also has technical ability and good pace for a big man. He is a very good player and one I know well from our time at Blackburn."

City is satisfied the knee problems that hobbled the forward have cleared.

Hughes brought Santa Cruz to England two years ago from Bayern Munich and he scored 23 goals in 43 games in his debut season at Ewood Park.

Hughes had failed with several bids to sign Santa Cruz in the past year since he left Blackburn to coach Man City.

Santa Cruz, who had three years remaining on the new Blackburn deal he signed last August, is City's second offseason signing after England midfielder Gareth Barry joined from Aston Villa earlier this month.

City's wealthy owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, has pledged to spend to turn the Premier League underachievers into a title-winning side.

A signal of that intent came when Brazil forward Robinho was signed immediately after last September's takeover.

"The owners want the club to be more successful - they want to break into the top four," Santa Cruz said. "I spoke to the chairman (Khaldoon Al Mubarak) and I know his ambitions are known to everybody at the club - he made sure that I know as well.

"It was a good conversation. He wants the best for the club and to give something back to the fans."


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