Manchester City have announced German orchestrator Ilkay Gundogan as the first signing of the Pep Guardiola regime.
The £21m capture from Borussia Dortmund will add some ball-playing acumen to the Citizens midfield, but his arrival bucks almost every trend established by managers at the Premier League’s six elite outfits (Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and City) when making their first purchase.
In total, 27 different coaches have manned the rudder at a top-tier heavyweight since 2004/05. Of course, Arsene Wenger long had his slippers by the fireplace at Arsenal by this point, but we’ve thrown in his first shopping excursion for good measure.
So from a sample size of 28 first signings, only one – Andre Schurrle, bought by Jose Mourinho ahead of his second stint in charge of Chelsea – held a German passport.
New managers have tended to target players hailing from England or France, with eight of the 28 arrivals under the microscope eligible to represent either nation.
In terms of what league the players have moved from, again Gundogan is something of an anomaly.
He becomes just the second Bundesliga export to make a ‘big-six’ side’s first buy under a new manager. Countryman Schurrle set the precedent following his move to Chelsea from Bayer Leverkusen.
At 25, he is two years older than the typical first signing such clubs make, while his alleged cost of £21m is considerably more than double the average outlay of £8.8m.
However, focusing solely on City’s initial antics in the transfer market under a fresh boss, it becomes easier to squeeze Gundogan into the mould of an archetypal first buy.
Both Guardiola’s predecessors Manuel Pellegrini and Roberto Mancini opted to bolster central-midfield upon obtaining the keys to the Citizens’ bottomless transfer trove, with the former luring Fernandinho to the Etihad and the latter lumping for Patrick Vieira.
Aged 28 and 33 respectively, Gundogan is considerably younger, while neither were recruited from ‘big-six’ shopping hotspots of England or France.
If their latest acquisition can combat a recently-rotten injury record, he will prove vital in City’s attempts to justify their 2/1 favouritism to win the Premier League in 2016/17.