Manchester City have successfully concluded one of 2014’s most protracted transfer sagas with the signing of Porto’s much-coveted French international centre-half Eliaquim Mangala.
Acquired for a hefty sum understood to be in the region of £32m, the 23-year-old is the fourth signing of a summer of Citizens transfers with a distinct focus on defence bolstering.
Bronze medallists in the Premier League clean sheet table in their title-winning 2013/14 campaign with a fearsome 16 shutouts, snapping up Mangala can ensure Manuel Pellegrini’s side land odds of 17/20 about more than 15.5 in 2014/15.
In a rare off-season for Porto, the former Standard Liege man had his hand on the tiller in 11 wins to nil last season.
Playing alongside a classy operator such as Vincent Kompany in the heart of the City defence should enable him to comfortably exceed that number with his new employers.
The impact the highly-touted and long-coveted Frenchman will have on the already-miserly Citizens rearguard will be magnified by the three new signings that have beaten him into the Carrington car park.
In recruiting Fernando, Mangala’s erstwhile Porto teammate, the Citizens have finally availed themselves of an out and out spoiler.
Known as ‘the Octopus’, the Brazil-born midfielder is unlikely to usurp Fernandinho or Yaya Toure in the engine room, but can be relied upon to aid his Sky Blue colleagues in the tricky business of choking the life out of game in an uncomplicated fashion.
Meanwhile, bagging Pellegrini’s former Malaga gloveman Willy Caballero can be regarded as something of a coup, with his quality sufficient to do far more than simply keep Joe Hart on his toes.
The Argentine kept 12 clean sheets last term, offering far sterner resistance than the England stopper in the process.
Caballero saved 2.48 goal-bound efforts for every La Liga concession.
Hart on the other hand shipped once every 1.59 attempts he was called upon to repel.
Mangala’s steadfast fellow Les Bleus international Bacary Sagna will likewise keep City superhero Pablo Zabaleta on his A game.