Manchester City have been blessed with some incredible talent this decade, and thanks to Sheikh Mansour, we’ve been able to afford some of the worlds best players. But, some players have far exceeded their price tag. And here’s our top ten Manchester City bargains of the decade…
10. Gael Dmitri Clichy, Arsenal to Manchester City (£7m, 2011)
Gael Clichy was something of a surprise signing, even in 2011. Where in other positions record fees were being broken, Clichy was snuck in as competition for Aleksandr Kolarov at left back. Stolen from under of the noses of Arsenal and Liverpool, for £7m, Clichy was already fighting an opinion when he left Arsenal as a ‘liability’ who was quick, yet beaten far too easily.
Despite any perceived lack of ability, Clichy racked up 203 games for City with three goals and four major trophies, although to many he will be remembered for being terrorised by Conor McManaman in the ‘final-that-shall-not-be-named’. Despite that, he was an ever reliable choice who was worth far more than the fee spent to bring him in.
9. Bernardo Silva, AS Monaco to Manchester City (2017, £43m)
Bernardo Silva’s dazzling performance in Monaco’s 5-3 loss at the Etihad clearly left its impression on Pep Guardiola, who made Bernardo his first signing of the 2017 summer re-build. Now, some would say that paying £43m for any player, no matter what, isn’t a bargain. But, when Bernardo has arguably been the best player for two seasons in a side that has won six trophies and broken countless records, we think there’s an argument to be made.
Bernardo’s bubble-gum style, sumptuous first touch and delightful passing has already endeared him to City fans (perhaps also the ease of which his name fits into chants and songs) and he was harshly overlooked for multiple individual awards for more mainstream players such as Sadio Mane and Virgil Van Dijk.
It’s hard to pick Bernardo’s best moment from his 120 City games, his tireless performance at home to Liverpool in 2018? His opening goal away at Old Trafford in 2019? His hat-trick in the 8-0 beating of Watford? Whatever it is, we think it’s clear to see that the man Vincent Kompany said this about: “When you look at Bernardo, you can recognise all the signs of a future City legend…I also call him a leader”
8. Oleksandr Zinchenko, FC Ufa to Manchester City (2016, £1.7m)
It can not be doubted that Oleks Zinchenko is ‘living his best life’. The man, or should I say teenager, who was signed to be sold on for profit, who couldn’t break into PSV Eindhoven’s first team, is the best left back in a team that has recorded 198 points in two seasons. His steely style of play and outstanding eye for a pass highlighted the versatility of the man signed as a winger, who has since played left back, defensive midfield, centre midfield and attacking midfield. He has also been a key part of a rejuvenated Ukraine national side, in his preferred position this time. His partnership with Aymeric Laporte on the left of City’s defence has been outstanding, so much so that City apparently pulled out of a £60m move for England left back Ben Chilwell.
No matter what happens now, Zinchenko will be hard to forget for City fans, his passion on and off the pitch for City is clear to see. His rapping ability, perhaps, as clear to see and the sheer enjoyment he has for football and life is infectious, here’s to many more crazy years of Oleks Zinchenko.
7. Raheem Sterling, Liverpool to Manchester City (2015, £44m)
The noise that followed Raheem Sterling’s transfer from Liverpool to City in 2015 was deafening, it’s perhaps unsurprising that he took a few seasons to settle in to life in Manchester, scoring only 21 goals in his first 94 appearances. His form since has more than made up for it, scoring 62 goals in his last 114, and that’s not even including the ridiculous amount of assists.
Sterling has been nothing short of talismanic for Guardiola’s City in the last three seasons, perhaps even outperforming a squad of players that includes Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne. No mean feat.
Sterling will perhaps rightly be seen as Pep Guardiola’s most lasting legacy on the club, turning a nervous, shy and under-performing young man into a potential Ballon d’or winner, and a two time Premier League champion. There is much more to come from a player who is only 24 years old, should he stay at City for another five seasons, he will be one of the best players the club has ever had and if someone offered you that for £44 million pounds nowadays, I think everyone would accept.
6. Ederson Moraes, SL Benfica to Manchester City (2017, £35m)
Goalkeepers are often one of the more unsung heroes in squads. How many will be able to name the goalkeeper of the famous AC Milan team of the 90’s?, or the Mighty Magyars in the 50’s? Unfortunately, because of shocking defences, horrific managers and ‘city-itis’ goalkeepers were often the most important players in the team. Frank Swift, Bert Trautmann, Joe Corrigan, Tony Coton, Nicky Weaver, Joe Hart and now Ederson could all be argued to get a place in City’s greatest or most influential XIs.
However, at the end of the day, Ederson has one thing the others don’t, is that he brought a complete change of style to the position. Nobody could argue that Hart wasn’t a good keeper, but he couldn’t touch Ederson in the style he plays. The dreaded ‘mainstream media’ might be at pains to stress that Liverpool’s golden child Allison is the best there ever was, but I can’t think of a single City fan who’d swap our Eddie for any keeper in the world.
5. Kevin De Bruyne, VfL Wolfsburg to Manchester City (2015, £55m)
‘The £60m reject’ was the headline that welcomed Kevin De Bruyne back to British shores in 2015. Thankfully City saw what the tabloids, certain pundits and clearly Jose Mourinho didn’t see at any point. City readily handed over the cash and haven’t looked back since. The question now is, what would you have payed knowing what we know about him now, or if City were to sell him, what fee would he demand? According to TransferMarkt its £117m.
Since the move, De Bruyne has been the best midfielder in the league bar none, with the ability to change a game on a flick of his shiny new boots. Not many players in City’s history come close to King Kev, perhaps only Colin Bell, Yaya Toure, Ali Benarbia and Willo Flood compare to him, that says more perhaps that any stats could, what it shows is that for £55m City got a once in a generation player who will be remembered for much longer than that.
4. Luiz Fernandinho, Shakhtar Donetsk to Manchester City (2013, £34m)
Many will forget that Fernandinho was so eager to join City that he paid £4m of his own transfer fee to get the move done, and that near enough sets up the rest of Fernandinho’s City career. Doing whatever it takes to get what he needs done. City’s very own destructive midfielder to fill the large boots of those who came before: Nigel De Jong, Joey Barton, Paul Bosvelt and Michael Brown.
Fernandinho has been all things to all men since he joined City, when a worker is needed to do what Yaya wouldn’t: play Fernandinho, when you need a player to get up and down the pitch scoring at one end and stopping goals at the other: start Fernandinho, need a centre back? Fernandinho, cynical fouls? Fernandinho, Fabregas throat grabber? Fernandinho.
The absolute definition of unsung hero, he’s done it all, and has now quietly become one of City’s most indispensable figures, much like David Silva and Sergio Aguero he probably won’t be recognised by the outside world for just how good he has been until he’s gone.
3. Yaya Toure, FC Barcelona to Manchester City (2010, £24m)
The big man for the big occasions, with the best songs. Forgetting the whole not fit enough, birthday cake and general Dmitri Seluk related madness, he was pivotal in turning City from nearly-men to the best of the best. A midfielder who scored for fun and played like your teenage older brother amongst ten-year olds. Just barrelling through defences like a knife through a hot cake.
Yaya was one of City’s most important players: United at Wembley, Stoke in the FA Cup final, Newcastle away, 20 league goals in Pellegrini’s title winning season and 79 goals in 319 games. Yaya, along with Carlos Tevez, David Silva and Vincent Kompany were the spine that turned City into a real threat to the top four of the time, a true colossus of midfield and the Premier League.
2. David Silva, Valencia to Manchester City (2010, £25m)
What can be said about ‘El Mago’ that hasn’t already been said. From the glorious mop of hair, drifting in and out of defenders, playing glorious through balls and slinking past his own personal man marker with ease. To the ruthless bald days of Pep Guardiola, marching between the lines of midfield and defence and relentlessly spamming through balls into the path of Leroy Sane time and time again, how often did we see: Silva beats a man in midfield, plays Sane in between the right back and centre back, who then squares for Aguero or Sterling to tap-in?
This season will be Silva’s last season, by the end of it he will have made over 400 appearances for City, City’s player’s player of the year, City’s player of the year, four time Premier League winner, two time FA Cup winner, four time league cup winner, three time community shield winner and with one more trophy this season he will become the most successful player in City’s history and maybe the greatest if he can become the first City captain to life the Champions League. It would be no surprise to anyone should City announce that a statue of David Silva will join Vincent Kompany’s in the future.
1. Sergio “Kun” Aguero, Atletico Madrid to Manchester City (2011, £38m)
At £38m, Sergio Aguero is currently costing City £155,737.71 per goal. With that figure reducing game by game. When Sergio Aguero joined for what was seen as an extortionate fee at the time, nobody could have predicted the success he would have in Manchester, like Silva, he will have a ridiculously long list of achievements but ultimately his 244 goals (for now) will be the first figure viewed, and viewed in awe for the generations to come.
The superlatives for Kun are endless nowadays, a stark difference from the not so distance past, but imagine how he will be remembered by the outside world in another 10 years, when people have the hindsight to see just how special Sergio Aguero has been.
City have been so lucky to have been able to capture him before the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Chelsea etc. stole him. Inevitably, the statues of Silva and Kompany will be dwarfed by the shirt twirling shadow of King Kun’s monolithic, Colossus of Rhodes-esque statue.
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