With the English summer transfer window almost at its conclusion, it is Manchester City who have yet again set the pace with no less than 12 new additions amounting to just under £350million.
The first signing - and cheapest - of the window was the arrival of Paulo Dybala who joined the club following his Juventus contract expired this July. With a swarm of clubs after the attacking midfielder’s signature after ten years in Turin, the offer of £325,000 per week at the Etihad Stadium and the leadership of Virtanen was what persuaded the Argentinian to choose City.
The signing of Adam Robertson followed shortly after as he became the most expensive transfer of Aapo Virtanen’s career as his release clause with Burnley was triggered as City paid out £93million for the right-winger who began his career at Boreham Wood.
With Juan Otálvaro always out of favour with Virtanen despite being his own January signing, Priestley Race was bought for his release clause of £33.5million from last year's Championship Play-Off finalists. He becomes the first-choice goalkeeper ahead of Irish number two Gavin Bazunu.
The double signing of 16 year olds Mark Nicholls and Fatlum Halilaj followed from Cardiff City [City’s affiliate club] and Crystal Palace respectively for a combined fee of £10million.
Chelsea striker Sean Richards was the next to sign up, becoming the club’s fifth homegrown signing of the summer. After being sent out on four consecutive loan spells away from Stamford Bridge to Plymouth, Huddersfield, Bournemouth and Brighton, Chelsea accepted a £36million offer which rises to £45million depending on performance clauses.
21-year-old Brad Smart was the next up, with the centre-midfielder signing a five-year contract after impressing Carlo Ancelotti at Arsenal last season. The clubs agreed a £27.5million fee, rising to £32.5million. With Smart being born in Spain, it is up to the Arsenal youth graduate to decide whether he wants to play for either Spain or England on the internationally after already making 17 U21 caps for Spain.
Tottenham U23 duo Byron Cole and Bradley Devonshire both agreed to a move up north from North London to Manchester with a combined £9.5million fee for the pair.
In City’s 2nd-most expensive transfer of the window so far, Lee Middleton signed for an initial £56million fee, rising to £61million as the English Liverpool left-winger impressed in his last three seasons on loan to Southampton, Burnley and Brighton in the Premier League.
After the sale of a key centre-back in Niklas Sule to Real Madrid, Frits Segers’ release clause at PSV Eindhoven was triggered and the 22-year-old Dutch centre-back joined the club for a £30million fee after 68 first-team appearances at his boyhood club in the Eredivisie.
Finally, Daniel Rietveld and Aapo Virtanen have also been reunited at Manchester City, as the right-back who played under Virtanen at Fiorentina had his release clause at Hertha Berlin triggered, joining City for £48.5million. He originally joined Fiorentina for £7.75million before his £27million move to the Bundesliga.
Moving onto departures, City saw just eight of their players move to other clubs permanently for transfer fees.
The first to leave were midfield duo Claude Blondel and Salvatore Venturelli who left for both Chelsea and Liverpool respectively. Blondel had been on his way out ever since joining City under Ancelotti but fans and staff alike had high hopes for Venturelli but his nightmare spell at City is now over as the pair leave for a combined fee of £47.5million.
Raheem Sterling finally forced himself out of the club after becoming unhappy upon winning the 2024/25 Champions League under Carlo Ancelotti. His unhappiness was over having achieved all he could at Manchester City and wanting to move onto a new challenge. With new wingers arriving to move him further down the pecking order, Sterling agreed a £40million move to fellow Premier League side Watford.
After only six months at the club, Colombian goalkeeper Juan Otálvaro left for Schalke 04 for the exact same fee that City bought him from FC Porto for as the Bundesliga side paid £52million for the 24 year old’s services since conceding 25 league goals in 17 appearances following Éderson’s departure to PSG in January.
Eric Mensah-Nyarko left the club for £100,000 to join EFL League One outfit Notts County after he was told that he would never receive first-team football at City.
In a similar case, City striker Andy Baxter left to join relegated side Blackburn Rovers in the Championship for a fee of £500,000. The 18-year-old never made a first-team appearance for City but he played well at youth level.
Onto deals affecting the first-team, Mateo Kovacic left City after an impressive season last year under Aapo Virtanen. His £60million move to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga ends his seven-year stay in Manchester after scoring 10 and assisting 15 times last season in all competitions.
Niklas Sule is the most recent and possibly the last permanent departure from the club as he became the club’s most expensive transfer moving away from the club. Since joining for £101million four years ago from Bayern Munich, Sule has made 85 Premier League appearances for Manchester City, scoring twice as well as scoring the goal that won City the UEFA Super Cup last season against Juventus. He joins Real Madrid for a fee of £75million.
Two key first-team players in Kevin De Bruyne and Nélson Semedo both ended their lengthy stays at the Etihad Stadium as they came to the end of their contracts at the club.
De Bruyne has not yet found a new club, with his lofty wage demands putting a lot of potential suitors off making a deal with the Belgian central midfielder.
However, Semedo has been able to locate a new club at the age of 32 as he joins fellow Premier League club Chelsea on a two-year deal on £105,000 per week at Stamford Bridge.
Joel Stewart and Dylan Lonergan managed to sign contracts with Leicester City while former City pair Graham Lindsey and Pat McKeown both joined Birmingham City.
Tommy Doyle finally completed his pre-arranged contract move to Swansea City after spending last season on loan at The Swans
and impressing the management there.
Martin McDonald found a new club in Derby County meanwhile City youth graduate Isaac Rocha finalised a move abroad as he joined Celta Vigo on a free transfer in the Spanish top tier.
In terms of temporary departures, Héctor Villar is the most significant loanee. The £34million player that City bought from Racing Club for £10million last summer has moved back to his home nation of Argentina for the season as he joins Boca Juniors in the Primera División.
Another significant deal is the loaning out of right-back Ton Gorter to join Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga for the season. With the release of Nélson Semedo it was suggested that Gorter would replace Semedo as a back-up option for Mamadi Fernandes, but following the arrival of Rietveld from Hertha Berlin he was sent on loan.
Spanish/English centre-back Colin Hill has also gone on his third consecutive loan spell for the season. After successful spells at Girona and Cardiff in the past, MLS outfit Atlanta United have taken the defender on for the season.
In terms of staff changes, Txiki Begiristain - the man who signed Virtanen for City one year ago - has been sacked from his role of Director of Football.
With staff coming into the club, former Sheffield United forward Billy Sharp has become the U23s assistant manager, Finnish legend Jari Litmanen who complimented Virtanen’s World Cup achievements joins as a first-team coach meanwhile former Juventus striker David Trezeguet joins the club from Tottenham to become a scout at Manchester City.
They can only do so much at that age, but with focus more on British talent in the English leagues from our scouts, I think I've found a great pair.
Join in whenever you like buddy! Great to hear you enjoy it
It's the English premium that English clubs have to pay for that kind of talent. If I'd have left it a couple of years, they'd have been snapped up or gone up in valuation astronomically.
Decent amount, although I did expect more when I first listed him. Project: Brexit FC is well underway in Manchester!
I certainly would like to think so, especially with their combined fee! I am also most excited about Halilaj too.
Halilaj has got everything to progress into a top star in the coming years, especially now working under state of the art facilities!
Halilaj is definitely the highlight of the pair, whereas Nicholls will find it hard getting into the squad in the next few years with Mbappé at the fore. I'm excited for the pair of them though!
The workrates and determination are both which could push them further than most!