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The finest signings of the early Sheikh Mansour era weren’t the Robinhos or Emmanuel Adebayors but a pair of talented young defenders snapped up for a fraction of the fee Manchester City’s owners paid to sign Roque Santa Cruz from Blackburn Rovers. 

City invested a combined £12 million in Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta during the 2008/09 campaign. 

A decade later, a pair of modern-day greats walked away from the Etihad with their heads held high and pockets weighed down by more silverware than a Debenhams sale.

Between them, Kompany and Zabaleta made more than 500 top-flight appearances, winning six Premier League titles along the way.

Your Club’s Player Who Newcastle ‘WILL SIGN’

Your Club’s Player Who Newcastle ‘WILL SIGN’

And while nouveau-riche Newcastle United have been linked with every man and his dog since that long-awaited Saudi Arabian takeover was ratified last week – from Mauro Icardi to Jesse Lingard and Donny van de Beek to Marcelo Brozovic – they, like City, could soon discover the best packages aren’t necessarily the most expensive.

Could Niklas Sule transform Newcastle United?

According to BILD reporter Christian Falk, Newcastle have emerged as a serious contender for the signature of Niklas Sule, Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga-winning battering ram. 

The 6ft 5in Germany international is due to become a free agent at the end of this season.

It remains to be seen whether Bayern are willing to meet his demands for a new £160,000-a-week deal but, as David Alaba will tell you, FC Hollywood aren’t afraid to roll the credits on the Allianz Arena career of one of their leading men (Sport1).

Photo by Stefan Matzke – sampics/Corbis via Getty Images

Der Spiegel, meanwhile, believes Sule would be open to the idea of swapping the Bundesliga for the Premier League.

Chelsea have been linked on a regular basis during the past few months but Sule could be lured north by an opportunity to define an era at St James’ Park, just as Kompany did at Manchester City. 

One of the finest centre-halves in European football, an aerial monster capable of turning defence into attack with a trademark marauding run, Sule would bring a fierce winning mentality having lifted 13 trophies during his time in Bavaria. 

Sometimes you don’t have to break the bank to make a statement.

Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images

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