Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

The 10 most expensive Manchester City transfers of all time: Gvardiol replaces Rodri in the top two

Josko Gvardiol, Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland playing for Manchester City. TEAMtalk montage.

Since being acquired by a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family in 2008, Manchester City have been one of the biggest spending sides in Europe.

City have used their vast resources wisely to win six Premier League titles, the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and several domestic cups.

We’ve taken a look at the 10 most expensive signings in City’s history and how those players subsequently fared after completing the move.

Note: we’ve only used the initial transfer fees and haven’t taken into account any potential add-ons.

10. Benjamin Mendy – £49.4m

After helping Monaco reach the Champions League semi-finals in 2016/17, Mendy joined City in a deal worth an initial £49.4million and another £2.6million in bonuses.

The left-back was plagued by injury problems and made just 43 Premier League starts during his first four seasons at the Etihad.

He was suspended by the club following his arrest in August 2021 and was later released on a free transfer at the end of the 2022/23 season.

9. Erling Haaland – £51.3m

Having failed to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham in the summer of 2021, City switched their attention to Haaland in 2022.

They fought off competition from all of Europe’s major clubs and triggered the £51.3million release clause in his Borussia Dortmund contract.

The striker netted 52 goals in 53 appearances in a remarkable debut season, including a record-breaking 36 goals from 35 Premier League outings.

His goals fired City to a historic treble as they won the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League in 2022/23.

8. Kevin De Bruyne – £55m

A few eyebrows were raised in the summer of 2015 when City shelled out £55million on De Bruyne, who had previously failed to make an impact at Chelsea.

He silenced those doubters and has since developed into one of the best midfielders in the world, helping City win five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, five League Cups and the Champions League.

The Belgium international has also picked up a host of individual accolades, including the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award in 2019/20 and 2020/21.

“He is [an] absolute legend,” Pep Guardiola said. “He will be remembered forever one of the greatest, greatest, greatest players of all-time for this club.”

7. Aymeric Laporte – £57.2m

After initially rejecting City to stay at Athletic Bilbao in the summer of 2016, Laporte changed his mind 18 months later and moved to the Etihad in a £57.2million deal.

The Spanish centre-back made a seamless transition to English football and was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year in 2018/19.

Having picked up 254 points from a possible 300, he also holds the record for most points collected after 100 Premier League matches.

But the 29-year-old fell out of favour in 2022/23 and City have now accepted an undisclosed bid from Saudi club Al Nassr.

Riyad Mahrez, Aymeric Laporte and Joao Cancelo of Man City

Riyad Mahrez, Aymeric Laporte and Joao Cancelo celebrate Man City goal

6= Riyad Mahrez – £60m

While Leicester City originally put a £95million price tag on Mahrez, they ultimately accepted City’s offer of £60million in the summer of 2018.

The winger had an underwhelming debut season at the Etihad and played a bit-part role as City won the domestic treble in 2018/19.

He eventually rediscovered his Leicester form and justified that price tag by registering 78 goals and 59 assists in 236 appearances in all competitions.

City then recouped half of the £60million transfer fee by selling the Algeria international to Saudi Arabian side Al Ahli in 2023.

6= Joao Cancelo – £60m

Cancelo joined City from Juventus in a £60million deal in 2019 and Danilo moved in the opposite direction for a fee of £34.1million.

After making a slow start to life at the Etihad, he turned things around and was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year in 2020/21 and 2021/22.

But the Portugal international then fell out with Guardiola and spent the second half of the 2022/23 season on loan at Bayern Munich.

Bayern decided not to trigger the £62million buy option, and he has now been linked with permanent moves to Arsenal and Barcelona.

4. Ruben Dias – £62m

After missing out on the Premier League title in 2019/20, City bolstered their defensive options by signing Dias from Benfica in a deal worth an initial £62million and another £3million in add-ons.

The centre-back made an immediate impact and was named the Premier League’s Player of the Year and UEFA’s Defender of the Year in 2020/21.

His performances have also helped City win three successive Premier League titles, the FA Cup, the League Cup, the Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup.

“He is the type of player similar to Vinny [Kompany], where it is not about how he plays himself,” Guardiola said in 2023. “Ruben is not just playing his game, he is playing the game for everyone. He has the ability to see and solve problems for many, many things. His character is so important.”

3. Rodri – £62.8m

City identified Rodri as a long-term successor to Fernandinho and triggered the £62.8million release clause in his Atletico Madrid contract in 2019.

He initially struggled to adapt to Premier League football but has since established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.

The Spain international has also chipped in with some valuable goals, including the winner against Inter Milan in the 2023 Champions League final.

2. Josko Gvardiol – £77.5m

City spent £77.5million to sign Gvardiol from RB Leipzig in 2023, making him the second most expensive defender of all time.

“First of all, he’s a central defender left, that’s not easy,” Guardiola told ITV Sport. “His physical condition is really, really good and his build-up with his left foot is also really, really good.

“He is 21 years old so when you buy, of course, it’s a lot of money, but when you are 21 years old, it is not a problem. He will be with us for the future and that’s what we think.”

The Croatia international has already got his hands on some silverware after making his City debut in the UEFA Super Cup win over Sevilla.

1. Jack Grealish – £100m

City became the first English side to spend £100million on a single player when they bought Grealish from Aston Villa in 2021.

The 27-year-old initially found it hard to adapt to life under Guardiola and was the subject of sustained criticism in 2021/22.

He silenced those critics and rediscovered his best form in 2022/23, making 50 appearances in all competitions as City won the treble.

The England international has also managed to cement his status as a national treasure. 

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