Kalvin Phillips has joined Manchester City for £45million as Pep Guardiola continues to make the most of that price bracket.
While fees of £70m, £80m and even £100m are increasingly commonplace at the top level, with Jack Grealish a rare excursion into that market for City, Guardiola and his recruitment team have generally preferred to shop in the £40m-60m range.
A look down City’s first-choice line-up shows a majority of players bought within that bracket and here, the PA news agency takes a look at the impact of those signings each season under Guardiola.
John Stones, £47.5m
The trend started with the arrival of John Stones from Everton in Guardiola’s first summer at the Etihad Stadium.
The England defender is closing in on 200 appearances for the club, with a dozen goals along the way – though perhaps his most significant contribution was the goal-line clearance against Liverpool which helped decide the 2018-19 title race by a point in City’s favour.
That is one of four Premier League titles for Stones at City, along with four League Cups and an FA Cup.
Benjamin Mendy, £49.4m
Kyle Walker, £45m
Bernardo Silva, £43m
Aymeric Laporte, £57m
A pair of full-backs for between £45m and £50m firmly set the Guardiola blueprint and while Mendy was inconsistent even before being sidelined due to rape allegations, Walker has been a foundational piece of both City’s success – with over 200 appearances since his arrival from Tottenham – and England’s resurgence.
Silva joined Mendy in moving from Monaco and has produced magic at the other end of the field, closing in on 50 goals and making over 250 appearances as he largely defies Guardiola’s rotation policy in attack.
Laporte followed in the January window from Athletic Bilbao and while he has had spells out of the side, his 150-plus appearances and a dozen goals have made him a significant part of Guardiola’s success.
Riyad Mahrez, £60m
The winger starred in Leicester’s shock title-winning side of 2015-16 and joined City two years later for a hefty fee.
After a relatively slow start, he has justified the outlay with 63 goals in 189 appearances and last season joined only Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero in scoring in seven successive appearances under Guardiola.
His goals have helped City to three league titles, an FA Cup and three League Cups.
Rodri’s £62.5m release clause at Atletico Madrid priced him just above Guardiola’s favoured bracket, while Joao Cancelo arrived from Juventus in a part-exchange deal involving fellow full-back Danilo.
Nathan Ake, £41m
The Dutch defender has never established himself as a first-choice option for City but has deputised admirably for Stones, Laporte and Ruben Dias – a £62m arrival in the same summer window.
Ake has played 40 games, scoring four goals. The most memorable came against RB Leipzig in last season’s Champions League, after which Ake revealed his terminally ill father had died “only a few minutes after” the goal.
Grealish was City’s headline arrival of the summer, though the nine-figure fee was in contrast to the players on this list. England captain Harry Kane was pursued for a similar fee, but the first of this summer’s moves renders the link with the Tottenham striker obsolete.
Erling Haaland, £51m
Kalvin Phillips, £45m
Haaland, the son of former City midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland, had a bargain £51m release clause in his contract at Borussia Dortmund, where he scored 85 goals in 88 games. He will look to reproduce that form and fill the gap as an outright number nine left since Aguero’s departure last summer.
Phillips, meanwhile, replaces club stalwart Fernandinho and will vie with Rodri for the holding midfield berth, with the ability to offer plenty in a creative sense as well. He was instrumental to Leeds’ strong first season back in the Premier League and was named England fans’ player of the year for 2020-21.