Ake to Man Metropolis? The cautionary story of Metropolis’s centre-back signings

Vincent Kompany joined Manchester Metropolis in August 2008 – somewhat greater than every week earlier than the membership’s trajectory was irreversible modified by Sheikh Mansour’s takeover.

The centre-back place, the place long-serving membership captain Kompany excelled and have become a membership nice, has develop into a spotlight for the proprietor’s switch market tens of millions over the intervening years.

Nevertheless, there have been dearer misses than hits, with Metropolis’s struggles after Kompany’s departure final 12 months underlining how subsequent centre-back additions have not often been anyplace close to as profitable.

Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake is ready to be the subsequent man into the constructing, with Metropolis reportedly having agreed a £41million charge for the Netherlands worldwide.

Right here, we take a look at the foremost centre-back signings made by Metropolis in the course of the Abu Dhabi period and the way they panned out.


A former title winner with Arsenal, Toure was given the captain’s armband by Mark Hughes as membership stalwart Richard Dunne was ushered out of the door. The Ivory Coast worldwide struggled for consistency, nonetheless, and have become a back-up choice beneath Roberto Mancini. Arguably his most important contribution to Metropolis’s success was his mere presence encouraging brother Yaya to make the transfer to Manchester.


Like Ake now and loads of others in between, the charge Metropolis paid Everton for Lescott introduced snorts of derision. However the England worldwide established a rock-solid partnership with Kompany that underpinned the 2011-12 Premier League title triumph. Metropolis have by no means appeared fairly so settled at centre-back since their alliance broke down the next 12 months.


Earlier than occurring to develop into one in all Europe’s elite central defenders at Bayern Munich, Boateng endured an sad 12 months in Manchester. Primarily a right-back at that stage of his profession, he discovered his path to the primary group blocked by Micah Richards and Pablo Zabaleta and didn’t settle.


Given he was fourth-choice in a season when Kompany and Lescott excelled, it was exceptional how rapidly Savic carved out a status as an accident-prone legal responsibility. A 12 months after signing him, Mancini had misplaced religion and determined to chop his losses. The regular hand in Atletico Madrid’s formidable backline right now is a participant completely remodeled.


Savic served as a makeweight within the deal to convey Nastasic to the Etihad Stadium. He carried out impressively throughout a largely forgettable 2012-13 marketing campaign, for which Mancini paid together with his job. Successor Manuel Pellegrini didn’t a lot fancy Nastasic, with accidents additional compromising the Serbia worldwide earlier than he moved to present employers Schalke in 2015.


A loyal lieutenant for Pellegrini, Demichelis left Atletico Madrid with out taking part in a recreation when the chance to reunite with the Chilean coach arose. Lengthy of hair and wanting tempo, his introduction to the Premier League was fraught and Marcus Rashford skinning him to win a 2016 Manchester derby gave his Metropolis profession a clanging footnote. Nevertheless, the Argentina worldwide’s expertise and metal was important because the Blues edged out Liverpool in a knife-edge 2013-14 title race.


Unperturbed by a large switch charge, Mangala was majestic on his debut as 10-man Metropolis battled to a 1-1 draw towards Chelsea. To be blunt, he by no means reached these ranges once more and was not often shut – a slapstick personal aim in his subsequent outing at Hull Metropolis proving much more consultant of what was to come back. A well-liked squad member, Mangala got here up brief when it comes to type, health and temperament to sadly stand as one of many largest switch flops in Premier League historical past.


Mangala’s struggles despatched Pellegrini again into the switch marketplace for one other big-money addition. Otamendi proved scarcely extra dependable and the duo typically wanted to be watched by means of one’s fingers when paired collectively. However, the Argentina defender’s dogged willpower noticed him develop into a mainstay in the course of the 100-point season beneath Pep Guardiola in 2017-18, when he deservedly received a spot within the PFA Crew of the Yr. His error-strewn efforts since have worn more and more skinny.


A flagship signing forward of Guardiola’s first season, Stones seems set for the exit door having failed to grasp his undoubted potential. He oozed class in the course of the early phases of back-to-back Premier League successes over the earlier two seasons, though he tellingly spent giant chunks of each run-ins on the sidelines. Accidents haven’t helped and Guardiola seems to have misplaced belief in a person who as soon as seemed set to be synonymous together with his reign.


For now, Laporte stays Metropolis’s costliest central defender and the Frenchman has given appreciable bang for his or her buck after the expensive folly listed above. As vital to Metropolis for his exact and diverse vary of left-footed playmaking from deep, Laporte is Guardiola’s defensive rock. When his cruciate knee ligament harm final August adopted a failure to interchange Kompany, the writing for 2019-20 was on the wall.

Revealed 31 Jul 2020, 12:30 IST