Manchester City have enjoyed a dramatic rise to prominence over the last decade. Having been under the shadows of their illustrious neighbours - Manchester United - for ages, the investment from Sheikh Mansour has turned them into the most successful English side in the last decade.
Since 2010, Manchester City have won four Premier League titles – more than any other side, while also lifting five League Cups and two FA Cups. European success continues to elude them, but there is no taking away the fact that they have been one of the most dominant teams in England in the recent past.
And a lot of it is down to their recruitment. The boost from the new owner’s investment allowed Manchester City to go after the best of the best in the transfer market and that has seen them reap great rewards.
But who have been the Citizens’ top acquisitions during what has been an extremely successful period for the club? Let’s find out;
One of the cornerstones on which Manchester City’s success over the past decade was built upon, Yaya Toure signed for the Mancunian outfit in the summer of 2010 from La Liga giants Barcelona. In his eight-year stint with the club, the Ivorian went on to establish himself as one of the greatest midfielders in the history of the club, as well as the Premier League.
Toure made over 300 appearances for Manchester City, scoring 79 goals and setting up 50 more. The midfield powerhouse became renowned for his powerful, lung-bursting forays from the middle and his long-range stunners that left opponents and fans dumbstruck.
An all-action midfielder, Toure could do it all when on the field. The midfielder’s reputation did take a dent towards the end of his career at City, but he will go down as an absolute legend who played an integral role in ushering a new era at the club.
Another of the building blocks of Manchester City’s glory years, David Silva arrived at the club in the same window as Yaya Toure and along with him, led the Citizens to unbridled success.
Nicknamed ‘El Mago’ for his excellent technical ability and vision, David Silva has been one of the chief driving forces behind the heights that Manchester City have soared to. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the Citizens might not have been able to achieve the same level of success without the Spaniard in their ranks.
Silva, till date, has amassed over 400 appearances for the club, scoring 74 goals and setting up almost double that number. The midfielder was named club captain after Vincent Kompany’s departure last summer. However, Silva himself will be moving on from the Etihad when his contract runs out later this year.
The man that delivered Manchester CIty’s first-ever Premier League title. That late goal against QPR in the 2011/12 season would alone have been enough for Aguero to go down as a legend at Manchester City. But the Argentine international has achieved so much more during his time at the Etihad and will long be remembered as one of the greatest strikers to have graced the Premier League.
Signed from Atletico Madrid in 2011, Aguero wrote himself into the annals of the club’s history with that epic goal in his debut campaign itself. The Argentine backed it up with loads of goals year after year, eventually going on to become the all-time leading goalscorer for Manchester City and fourth-highest goal-getter in the history of the Premier League.
In 368 fixtures for Manchester City, Aguero has plundered 254 goals, 180 of which have come in the Premier League and assisted 72 more. At 31, he might not be able to break Alan Shearer’s record of most PL goals, but he will have his sights set firmly on Andy Cole (187) and Wayne Rooney (208).
Every successful team needs that one player who is willing to get his hands dirty and perform the often-thankless task of breaking up play in the centre and circulating the ball forward to let his attacking teammates work their magic. And in Fernandinho, Manchester City found just the right person for the role.
The Brazilian, signed from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, immediately became an integral member of Manchester City and still continues to be a pivotal part of the team at the age of 34. One of the most well-rounded defensive midfielders in the Premier League, Fernandinho, in his prime, could do it all. Till date, he has made 304 appearances for the Sky Blues, scoring 23 goals and creating 25.
As is the case often with the defensive anchors, the Brazilian doesn’t always get the recognition his more attack-minded teammates do. But his contribution to City’s success over the past years cannot be overstated.
Kevin De Bruyne
Having been discarded by Chelsea only a few years ago, Kevin De Bruyne returned to the Premier League during the 2015/16 season, joining Manchester City from Wolfsburg. And ever since, the Belgian international has grown into one of the best attacking midfielders not only in England but the world.
The 28-year-old is one of the crown jewels of this Manchester City side. Exceptional range of passing, great vision and technical ability, and a keen eye for a goal, Kevin De Bruyne has been the driving force behind Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking Manchester City side.
De Bruyne has a tally of 50 goals and 86 assists from 209 appearances for Manchester City. The 28-year-old has been particularly brilliant this season even though Man City are well behind Liverpool in the title race. Currently on 17 assists from 26 league games, the 28-year-old looks to be on his way to break Thierry Henry’s record for most assists in a single season in the Premier League (20), when the campaign resumes.