Eliaquim Mangala arrives to join Manuel Pellegrini’s side for a fee of £31.9 million from Porto to join Premier League champions Manchester City as they prepare to defend their title.
His fee now makes the history books, breaking the record held jointly by both Manchester United signings Rio Ferdinand (in 2002) and Luke Shaw this summer of £30 million (although some dispute the actual cost of Ferdinand which may be just under £30 million).
Brazilian centre back David Luiz became the most expensive defender in history across the world moving earlier this summer from Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain but his performances in the Premier League and Champions League had been the subject of fiercely contested debate. His display at the World Cup was less debatable and the former Blues hero was roundly criticised at home and abroad for his side’s capitulation against the Germans in the semi-finals.
Luke Shaw has been a rising star and darling of the English press for the past 18 months but has yet to genuinely play regularly on the Champions League or the international stage. The teenager is something of a marquee signing for Manchester United this summer but some have argued that his price is inflated due to his English nationality and the pressure on the club to sign exciting players of high profile following their disappointing season under David Moyes last term.
How will Eliaquim Mangala shape up is the central question? Given Rio Ferdinand’s undisputable success with United over the last 12 years since signing from Leeds United, perhaps Mangala will come in and perform a similar function for the Citizens. Alongside Vincent Kompany, he has the ideal partner, to allow him to thrive and dominate.
The only obstacle will be his necessity to overcome the transitional adaptation period to the demands of the Premier League compared with the Portuguese Primeira Liga but, in due, course, at the age of 23, he has the time.
Certainly he has the potential to become of the world’s best defenders and, furthermore, if he can play a part in helping City retain the title this term, the fans will consider him worth every penny.