From Bony to Dzeko and Laporte – Man City’s best and worst January window signings – Stuart Brennan

Manchester City’s dips into the January transfer market since their 2008 takeover have been largely successful.

The only real flops to arrive in the winter window have been Wilfried Bony and Wayne Bridge, and latest mid-season buy Julian Alvarez will be hoping to join the ranks of the other six stars who rocked up at City and – in varying degrees – made a success of their City careers.

Here we rank the five best City January signings in the Sheikh Mansour era.

5. Shay Given

With City still glancing over their shoulders at the threat of going down “with a billion in the bank”, as the song says, the first full transfer window under the new owners was crucial.

Get it wrong, and the Blues could have been plunged back into the relegation morass, get it right and they could head into the following season, and summer transfer window, with renewed optimism. It is a situation currently familiar to Newcastle.

Joe Hart was a highly promising 21-year-old keeper at the time, but manager Mark Hughes wanted an experienced head between the sticks and prized Republic of Ireland international Given away from Newcastle for £6million.

Given started every game for the rest of the season as the Blues steered clear of danger, and he remained the main man the following season when Hart was sent out on loan to Birmingham.

Hart returned in spectacular style the following season to edge out Given once more, but the job was done, and City had the platform built for the glory years to come.

4. Nigel DeJong

As well as Given, Bridge and Craig Bellamy, who was close to inclusion in the top five, Mark Hughes also brought in Holland international Nigel De Jong.

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 27: Manchester City headcoach Mark Hughes (C) welcomes his new signings, Craig Bellamy and Nigel De Jong (R), during a photocall at the Carrington Training Complex on January 27, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Not your classic Ditch midfielder, De Jong’s pitbull tendencies were perfect for a potential relegation dogfight and he dug in as the Blues finished tenth, 16 points clear of the bottom three and able to sell their vision of triumphs and trophies to important signings like Carlos Tevez , Joleon Lescott, Emmanuel Adebayor and Gareth Barry that summer.

Unlike Given, De Jong stayed long enough to earn a deserved Premier League winner’s medal, playing a key role in Sergio Aguero’s title-winning goal in 2012 before moving on to AC Milan that summer.

3.Gabriel Jesus

In any other era, a player who has scored 82 goals in 195 games for City – as Gabriel Jesus had headed into this season – would be in line for a statue at the Etihad Stadium.

Instead, Jesus has struggled a little with being earmarked as Aguero’s natural replacement and has re-invented himself as a right-winger as doubts remain over his goalscoring prowess.

But as the first line of defense, and a component in the slick City attack, Jesus has been exceptional this season, and at key moments in his City career.

His smart lobbed goal at Southampton to chalk up the 100 points in 2018, his epic performances against Real Madrid in the Champions League, and the double against Liverpool in the 5-0 drubbing at the Etihad will long be remembered by Blues fans.

And Jesus has three Premier League, three League Cup and an FA Cup winner’s medal to place alongside his Olympic gold in the trophy cabinet.

2. Aymeric Laporte

Very close to being the top pick – he cost City a then club record of £57million when he joined amid a center back injury crisis in 2018.

Laporte peels away after notching City's equalizer
Laporte peels away after notching City’s equalizer

He helped to shore things up as City strode to the title in his first season, but it was in the following campaign that he established himself as the Blues’ first-choice defender, and one of the first names on Pep Guardiola’s team sheet.

Solid, steady, and with an eye for both telling passes and a setpiece headed goal, Laporte bounced back from losing his place to John Stones last season to again become first-choice alongside Ruben Dias.

His quality has also been recognized by Spain’s decision to call him up for the national team despite his French birthplace.

1. Edin Dzeko

Tough call over Laporte but Dzeko’s contribution to two title-winning seasons under Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini was phenomenal.

Everyone remembers Aguero’s winner, but it was a towering header from Dzeko that drew City level to set up that ecstatic finish.

Om any other team, his 19 goals in 43 games would have him marked down as the main man that season, but he was sharing a squad with Aguero, who rattled in 30 in 48.

Aguero surpassed that under Pellegrini in 2013-14 to bag 28 in 34 games, to again eclipse Dzeko’s own phenomenal figures of 26 goals in 48 games.

With Aguero suffering injury problems, the big Bosnian shouldered the burden to get City over the line, before he fell out with Pellegrini and moved on that summer.

His incredible four-goal haul in the 5-1 win at Spurs in 2011 remains one of the stand-out individual performances in City’s history.

And the worst…

In terms of the worst, Bony fits the bill nicely – he was a square peg in a round hole for City after his £27million move from Swansea, where he simply could not stop scoring. He simply could not start at City, and his cause was not helped by a bout of malaria that left him feeling weak and lethargic.

He lingered for 18 months, playing 46 games and scoring a flattering total of ten goals, before heading back to Swansea in the summer of 2017

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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