Sunday’s stream of transfer rumours sees in-bound Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola re-take centre stage, with speculation dictating Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci is around whom he wants to build his new defence.
A mooted valuation of £25m will do little to deter the Citizens, whose recent extravagance in the market makes such a sum look positively bargain bin.
Statistically, however, Bonucci’s numbers undermine his mooted worth.
Averaging just 1.5 aerial duel wins per match, the Italian sits below five club colleagues in this metric, while no fewer than 12 fellow first teamers have recorded means superior to his 0.9 tackles per match.
Yet it is not mediocre figures that make Bonucci a bad prospective purchase.
No, it is City’s dreadful luck with signing centre-backs from abroad that should stop them from raiding the Old Lady’s defensive ranks here.
The Citizens have failed to sign a stopper befitting of the level they’re aspiring to reach since the 2008 acquisition of Vincent Kompany, and even then the Belgian behemoth was bought as a holding-midfield player.
Recent recruits include £32m man Nicolas Otamendi,, Martin Demichelis, a freebie from Malaga, and Eliaquim Mangala, who also cost £32m.
That’s £64m, two centre-backs bought from La Liga and one from its Portuguese equivalent, yet none can claim to have consistently delivered to the standard City require of them.
Drifting back further there’s Stefan Savic, who came from Partizan Belgrade, and Matija Nastasic, signed from Fiorentina.
It can be argued none of these buys have savoured as much success as Joleon Lescott, who, along with Kolo Toure, was the only high-profile centre-back addition made to the squad that didn’t hail from the southern echelons of western Europe.
The season in which the former England international featured most, 2011/12, coincided with City winning the Premier League for the first time.
After seeing so many centre-backs from foreign divisions fail to vindicate their sky-high transfer fees, perhaps steering clear of Bonucci and shopping closer to home will pay dividends for the Citizens.