Man City buy Kalvin Phillips, stake in Italian club Palermo

Kalvin Philips of England, left, and Salvatore Esposito of Italy battle for the ball during the Nations League soccer match between England and Italy at Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, England, Saturday, June 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Premier League champion Manchester City bought an England midfielder and a controlling stake in an Italian club on Monday.

City said it completed the expected signing of Kalvin Phillips, who left his hometown and boyhood club Leeds at age 26 to sign a six-year contract.

The value of the transfer was not disclosed though was reported to be 45 million pounds ($55 million).

In an emotional message to Leeds fans on social media, Philipps said it had been a privilege to play for ”this amazing club” and praised former manager Marcelo Bielsa as the best he had seen.

Man City’s parent company City Football Group later completed a deal to take a majority stake in Serie B team Palermo — its 12th club in full or joint ownership.

“This is a very special club,” group chief executive Ferran Soriano said in a statement, “and our role will be to add value to all of the things which make it so special and steadily improve performance on and off the pitch, using our experience and know how.”

Newly promoted to the Italian second tier, Palermo joins a portfolio also includes New York City, Sichuan Jiuniu in China and Mumbai City in India.

Palermo has won two promotions in four seasons and club president and chairman Dario Mirri will stay in those roles, the club said.

“We wanted to find the right investor with a deep knowledge of football to help to continue to take us forward,” Mirri said.

The CFG holding company is 77% owned by an investment fund of the Abu Dhabi royal family.