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Manchester City most expensive signings: How Citizens spent over £1.5 billion on 10 incoming transfers

8:00 AM EDT 7/11/22
Manchester City
Ever since Sheikh Mansour took over at the Etihad Stadium, the club has splashed the cash on some of the world's best footballers

Manchester City have been the most successful club in England for the past decade thanks in no small part to their willingness to spend significant sums of money on top players.

Indeed, Sheikh Mansour was determined to transform the club into one of the biggest on the planet from the moment he took over in 2008 and a deadline-day move for Real Madrid's Robinho signalled the dawn of a new era at City.

However, after constant speculation linking City with established superstars such as Kaka and Gigi Buffon, the Abu Dhabi-based owners actually adopted a more careful and considered approach to the transfer market, focusing their attention on players of great potential specifically suited to a certain style of play.

Of course, that still meant splashing the cash and City have spent more than £1.5 billion (£1.8m) since Mansour arrived in Manchester and not every deal worked out well.

Below, GOAL takes a look at the 10 most expensive signings in the club's history...

Manchester City top 10 most expensive transfers

  • Raheem Sterling - Manchester City

    #10 Raheem Sterling | £49m | Liverpool | 2015

    There were plenty of people that insisted City had overspent on Sterling when they plucked the 20-year-old from Liverpool in an acrimonious transfer in 2015.

    “If he moves to City say, is he ready to be judged as a £50m player? No, I don’t think so... I’d tell him it’s not the right thing to do at this stage," former Reds winger John Barnes said at the time.

    Seven years on, there can be no argument that he was more than ready, with Sterling having played a big role in four Premier League triumphs.

    And City could yet net a full return on their money, with a summer move to Chelsea likely to recuperate all or most of that initial outlay, making Sterling one of the most successful signings in the club's history.

  • Erling Haaland Man City

    #9 Erling Haaland | £51m | Dortmund | 2022

    Yet to kick a ball for the club, but the Norwegian international still seems like an incredible bargain, even when additional fees are factored in.

    Every big club in Europe were chasing the striker, helped by the release clause in his contract with Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund.

    That City were able to win the race for Haaland's signature was a major coup and underlines their arrival at the very top of the game.

    Thanks to his incredible goal record, Haaland is considered a potential Ballon d'Or winner and fans can't wait to see how he develops under Pep Guardiola.

  • Benjamin Mendy

    #8 Benjamin Mendy | £52m | Monaco | 2017

    On the pitch, Mendy has been City's least effective big money signing.

    A ruptured anterior cruciate ligament ended the French international's first season following his arrival from Monaco in 2017.

    More significant have been events away from football, though, with Mendy having been suspended by the club for a year.

    He will go on trial in August after pleading not guilty to nine counts of sexual offences, including seven alleged rapes, against six women.

  • Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City 2021-22

    #7 Kevin De Bruyne | £54m | Wolfsburg | 2015

    'The £60m reject' is how City's pursuit of the former Chelsea midfielder was described in one English tabloid.

    While his time at Stamford Bridge was brief and unspectacular, City knew exactly what they were doing when they brought him back to England from Wolfsburg in 2015.

    De Bruyne has simply been one of the most outstanding performers ever since, lighting up the Premier League and becoming the embodiment of Guardiola's scintillating football.

    He has been the main player in City's most successful period, underlined by the list of personal honours that have gone his way, including twice being named Premier League Player of the Season and PFA Player of the Year.

  • Aymeric Laporte Manchester City

    #6 Aymeric Laporte | £57m | Athletic Club | 2016

    Few players turn down Guardiola and get a second chance from the coach seen by many as the best in the world.

    The young Athletic Club defender was unsure about a move to Manchester in 2016, but 18 months later City went back in for him.

    Guardiola saw him as the ideal centre-back, a commanding defender with a passing range to start attacks from deep.

    There has been the occasional uncomfortable moment, but Laporte has grown into one of the most reliable centre-backs in Europe.

  • Joao Cancelo Man City 2021-22

    #5 Joao Cancelo | £60m | Juventus | 2019

    The Portuguese full-back looked a good fit for Guardiola when he moved from Juventus in a deal that saw Danilo move in the other direction.

    Technically-gifted and tactically intelligent, Cancelo was brought in to bring even more attacking thrust.

    A difficult first year challenged the idea that he would be a success, as he struggled to acclimatise and nail down a regular starting place.

    But all of that changed in an impressive second campaign as he provided the answer to the challenging left-back position.

  • Riyad Mahrez

    #4 Riyad Mahrez | £60m | Leicester | 2018

    Anyone who saw the Algerian's performances in Leicester's extraordinary title-winning campaign will understand why City wanted the winger.

    But the Foxes didn't need to sell and City had to pay a big fee to prise him away from the King Power Stadium.

    However, it's worth paying a significant fee just to watch the most sublime first touch in world football and Mahrez offers a unique ability in the team to drift past players.

    He has helped the trophies keep rolling in and has been particularly important in Europe, even if City have yet to realise their Champions League dream.  

  • Ruben Dias Man City 2021-22

    #3 Ruben Dias | £62m | Benfica | 2020

    Following the departure of iconic captain Vincent Kompany, City were in desperate need of a leader.

    After a summer of unsuccessful pursuits, Guardiola's side started the season badly and a big presence was required.

    Enter Dias and even as a relatively inexperienced 23-year-old, the former Benfica man transformed the back-line with his organisational and communication skills, which had previously been lacking at City.

    In two seasons, he's won back-to-back Premier League titles and, as a future club captain, who knows how many trophies he could lift during his time at the Etihad?

  • Rodri Manchester City 2019

    #2 Rodri | £63m | Atletico Madrid | 2019

    It came as something of a surprise when City set a new club record by buying Rodri from Atletico Madrid.

    Many questioned the size of the fee for defensive midfielder signed shortly after his 23rd birthday, but Guardiola clearly saw a player that could play a key role in a position he sees as of paramount importance.

    Comparisons with Sergio Busquets initially seemed ambitious as he took time to get to grips with English football and found himself behind Fernandinho in the pecking order.

    But an astounding 2021-22 season, in which fully understood his role in the side, has made him a major part of Guardiola's vision.

  • Jack Grealish Manchester City 2021-22

    #1 Jack Grealish | £100m | Aston Villa | 2021

    Grealish has the style, swagger and appeal to carry off the pressure of being the most expensive British transfer of all time.

    Now he just needs to bring that very best form from his Aston Villa days after a stuttering first season.

    He admitted to being intimidated by the quality of the players around him but now Grealish needs to realise that he was brought to the club as someone on the same level as his new team-mates.

    And there is a belief within the club that he follow in the footsteps of several other stars on this list by making huge progress after an underwhelming first campaign.