Man City 2020/21 transfers graded – Dias top of the class, Torres impresses
Manchester City are once again celebrating being crowned champions of England for a third time in four years under Pep Guardiola after snatching the title from Liverpool.
The Catalan must have feared the worst when his side began the season in poor form, winning only six of their first 13 games, and they were eight points behind the Reds at that point.
But after a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham in November, Man City embarked on an incredible 19-game unbeaten run in which they won 15 consecutive games to propel them back to the summit of the Premier League table.
The turning point in their season came when Guardiola sanctioned a club-record deal to bring Ruben Dias from Benfica, partnering the Portuguese with John Stones at centre-back.
Once they had found their groove, there was simply no catching them.
But after spending around £120m and having to replace the influential Leroy Sane, who joined Bayern Munich, how did Guardiola’s signings impact their season?
Here, Mirror Sport assesses their transfer dealings…
Ruben Dias: A
Not since Virgil van Dijk has one signing completely transformed a team on the pitch in the way Ruben Dias has done.
The Portuguese defender is the current favourite to win PFA Player of the Year and rightly so. The 24-year-old was signed for a club-record £61m fee from Benfica in October, yet there have been no signs of buckling under the pressure.
Dias has formed an impenetrable partnership with the revitalised John Stones and since his arrival, City have only conceded 21 goals and kept 14 clean sheets in the 31 games he has played.
There is arguably no better player at blocking shots in world football and Dias also displays a calming presence when in possession.
If he can maintain this level for years to come, City will be in a prime position to dominate European football.
Ferran Torres: B
Picked up for little over £20m from Valencia, the 21-year-old has shown glimpses of his enormous potential in his first season in England.
Torres has been used sparingly by Pep Guardiola and more when his team needs to rotate, but the winger has still chipped in with 12 goals in 31 appearances this season — including a hat-trick against Newcastle earlier in May.
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The Spaniard has shown enough to suggest he could be utilised as a central striker next season when required, saving City having to enter the market for a replacement for Sergio Aguero, and he appears to have a bright future at the Etihad Stadium.
Nathan Ake: C-
Guardiola first tried to solve his centre-back conundrum with the £40m purchase of Ake from Bournemouth before turning to Dias, and it is fair to say the latter has generated a bigger impact.
The Dutchman has experienced a frustrating first season at the Etihad Stadium, with injuries and a lack of opportunities limiting him to just 13 appearances in all competitions.
The 26-year-old is likely to be fourth-choice as a centre-back with Dias, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones all ahead of him in the pecking order, although he has been used as a makeshift left-back on occasion.
However, he has started all three of City’s last three league fixtures, suggesting Guardiola still believes he has a future in Manchester.