Laporte to Man City: Record signings in the Sheikh Mansour era

Manchester City have broken their transfer record for the fifth time since Sheikh Mansour's takeover with the signing of Aymeric Laporte.

Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero   -  Getty Images

Aymeric Laporte has become Manchester City's record signing after completing a £57million move from Athletic Bilbao.

It is the fifth time City have broken their transfer record since coming under Abu Dhabi ownership in September 2008.

Sheikh Mansour has acted to arm Mark Hughes, Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and now Pep Guardiola with a formidable transfer budget, with a raft of stars excelling on the way to two Premier League titles, two EFL Cups and an FA Cup in City's era of plenty.

There have also been a fair share of big-money flops, but how did things pan out for City's record buy – a mantle 23-year-old French centre-back Laporte must now inherit.

Robinho - £32.5m from Real Madrid, September 2008

September 1, 2008 was a breathless affair at Manchester City. It began with breaking news of a takeover and talk of untold riches, rumbled forward with transfer speculation as remarkable as it was baffling and ended – sensationally – with a British record purchase of Robinho. The lavishly gifted Brazilian brought the house down with a goal on his debut against Chelsea – City eventually lost 3-1 – and produced some magical moments on his way to 15 goals in 2008-09. A lack of consistency frustrated Hughes and quickly persuaded Mancini to move Robinho on, but his signing will forever be synonymous with Manchester City's horizons changing beyond all recognition.

Sergio Aguero - £38m from Atletico Madrid, July 2012

Much of City's vast outlay after Robinho focused upon established stars with their reputations set and, perhaps, their best years behind them. Mancini's initial overhaul, featuring the purchases of Yaya Toure and David Silva, was a decisive step in the right direction and yielded an FA Cup. But it was a 23-year-old Aguero, a one-time teen sensation who had taken LaLiga by storm, who propelled City towards a title he would secure in such unforgettable fashion. In every season at the club, barring an injury-hit 2012-13, he has topped the scoring charts and in November became City's all-time leading scorer. An unqualified success.

Raheem Sterling - £49m from Liverpool, July 2015

Much conjecture and controversy surrounded Sterling's move from City to Liverpool and, despite early promise under Pellegrini, the baggage of a transfer that saw him become the most expensive English player in history appeared to weigh heavily on the winger. But the 23-year-old has flourished under Guardiola and is now an indispensable member of City's attacking line, even having the audacity to challenge Aguero's status as leading marksman this season.

Kevin de Bruyne - £55m from Wolfsburg, August 2015

De Bruyne ensured Sterling's spell as City's record signing was short-lived and instantly lived up to his reputation as goalscoring midfielder and assist machine. A disjointed City limped to a fourth-place Premier League finish in 2015-16. Even then, it was not entirely unreasonable to suggested they might have won the title had De Bruyne not missed two months with ankle ligament damage. He was already so pivotal and Guardiola's shrewd decision to move De Bruyne into a slightly deeper midfield role has established him as City's beating heart. It is impossible to imagine this swashbuckling side without the 26-year-old Belgium star, who was handsomely rewarded with a new contract this month.

Aymeric Laporte - £57m from Athletic Bilbao, January 2015

Guardiola has had a decisive influence over the upward trajectories enjoyed by Sterling and De Bruyne and spent in the region of £50m for John Stones, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy, but Laporte is the first player that has persuaded him to set a new transfer record at City. Stylistically, it is easy to see why, with the 23-year-old an elegant, ball-playing defender very much in the Guardiola mould. Dictated by his Athletic release clause, it is a staggering fee for a player without a senior international cap but the fact Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson was in the same boat when he arrived from Benfica for £34.7m last June means the manager's instinct should be trusted.

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