While Shinji Kagawa netted his first goal for Manchester United and Chelsea confirmed the signing of Oscar on Wednesday, Manchester City went one better on Thursday morning, announcing Vincent Kompany, their talismanic captain, had put pen to paper on a new six-year deal.
And it may well prove to be City’s best piece of business this summer, especially as a move for Robin van Persie continues to make slow progress. In fact, in a game of multi-million pound gambles, where some of the Manchester club’s transfer business has been castigated (see Jo, Robinho and Roque Santa Cruz), the Kompany deal kept their chief negotiators honest.
Signed for a scarcely believable £6 million in 2008, the Belgian defender has morphed from a promising and versatile prospect to the brute of a centre-back that won the Premier League’s Player of the Season award last year – only the second defender to take the award in it’s 18-year history.
Roberto Mancini, who also signed a new long-term deal earlier this month, has kept his cards close to his chest so far this summer and unusually, City have yet to make a significant move in the transfer market. Though Van Persie is widely seen to be the marquee signing the club are aiming to make this summer, there is no rush to add to the squad that overhauled United in one of the most remarkable Premier League campaigns of all time.
City’s open attitude to marketing, allowing the supporters an inside look at the club via citytv has enabled the casual observer to learn more about the character of the squad and it was noticeable last season that Kompany was detached from some of the more extravagant players.
In one such moment, sat alongside Micah Richards – once touted as a future City captain – Kompany ignored his prattling about the latest iPod, focusing instead on the match they were being driven to. It may have been a small glimpse, but away from the game, I can think of few other examples that so clearly displayed the brazen determination we’re accustomed to seeing on the pitch. His robotic machinations were evidence enough to the purposeful character that Mancini decided would make a fine captain.
On the pitch, he was the leader of the meanest defence in the league, as City conceded just 29 goals en route to claiming the domestic game’s greatest prize – their first for 44 years. And it was perhaps the match-winning header in the Manchester derby that propelled them above their bitter rivals, in front of 47,000 people, that endeared him most to the City supporters.
He is the first (and most prominent) of the new wave of City icons; joining the likes of Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee and Francis Lee in club folklore. On a broader scale, Kompany looks set to emblazon his name in Premier League legend as well.
Alongside Kompany and Mancini’s new contracts, City are also expected to secure David Silva’s future – another of the club’s most valuable assets – as they move to cement the foundations ahead of an assault on the Champions League next year.
Aside from Joe Hart, Richards and Pablo Zabaleta, Kompany is the only surviving regular from the Mark Hughes side of 2008-09 to go on and lift the Premier League trophy, offering the rare source of continuity so key to creating any great dynasty.
The old adage that you need to know where you’ve come from to know where you are going rings true in Kompany’s case and in tying the Belgian to a long-term deal, City have secured the foundation they need to pursue dominance in the global game.
This article originally appeared on Goal.com