The Canadian-born Hargreaves was released by English champion Manchester United at the end of last season after failing to complete a match in three years because of knee, shoulder and hamstring trouble.
However, the 30-year-old former England midfielder has proved his fitness to City, where he will likely be a backup to Netherlands international Nigel de Jong in the big-spending club’s star-studded squad.
Hargreaves is City manager Roberto Mancini’s sixth summer signing—and could be a shrewd one if he manages to avoid any more injuries that have derailed a career that peaked during the 2006 World Cup when he was arguably England’s best performer in Germany.
A year later, he was signed by United from German giants Bayern Munich and ended his first season at Old Trafford by winning the Premier League-Champions League double.
His fortunes have since plummeted. Having failed to find a club for the start of the season, Hargreaves resorted to posting videos on YouTube showing himself working in a gym and running to prove his fitness.
In a statement announcing the free-transfer signing, City acknowledged “injury has taken its toll” on Hargreaves’ career. But the club was still prepared to take a gamble on the player, signing him to a short contract.
Hargreaves, capped 42 times by England, joins a club that is second in the Premier League on goal difference behind United, having won its first three games.
City will also be playing in the Champions League this season, with Bayern one of its opponents in Group A.
Mancini has also signed Argentina striker Sergio Aguero and Arsenal pair Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy, taking the spending under Abu Dhabi billionaire Sheikh Mansour since his 2009 takeover over $1 billion.