Manchester City have some of the deepest pockets in world football and the club’s owners, including an entity run by Sheikh Mansour of the United Arab Emirates’ royal family, have spared little expense in an attempt to build it into one of the globe’s most successful teams. The list of transfer fees paid for their current squad (below) is a clear sign of their ambition.
But the spending power of Man City owners City Football Group, and the construction of their network of clubs around the world, has often come under the microscope. Manchester City even received a ban from European cup competitions in 2020 for alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play rules, only for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to reinstate City.
And as recently as this year, a report by German publication Der Spiegel claims that the Premier League has been investigating financial transactions involving underage players, potential disguised salary payments made to a former manager, and alleged inflated sponsorship agreements.
The Citizens themselves have insisted at every turn that they are abiding by the rules, though they have refused to comment specifically on the most recent reports.
All the questions and chatter haven’t prevented the football staff at Manchester City from constructing one of the behemoths in world football. Coached by one of the sport’s all-time great managers, Pep Guardiola, they are chasing their fourth Premier League title in five seasons and a first UEFA Champions League crown. They are still in contention for both trophies along with the English FA Cup in 2022.
Sporting News takes a deeper dive into Man City’s spending spree over the last decade, its most expensive transfers, and the how much their current squad cost as they continue to chase more glory on both domestic and European fronts.
When did the current owners buy Manchester City?
Formerly seen as a stable yet unspectacular Premier League club, Manchester City changed the face of English football forever when they were acquired by the Abu Dhabi United Group on Sept. 1, 2008.
The downfall of its previous owner, ex-Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, saw his assets frozen and it placed the Blues in a precarious financial position.
But in stepped Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his consortium to take over the club for over $350 million (£210 million) and set about making Manchester City one of the biggest clubs in the world.
How much money have Manchester City’s owners spent?
Roughly speaking, the owners of Manchester City have spent an estimated $2 billion since completing the takeover of the club back in 2008.
Many high-profile names have graced the Etihad Stadium, beginning with former Real Madrid man Robinho. On the same day the Abu Dhabi United Group changed the footballing stratosphere of the club, the Brazilian was acquired from Real Madrid in a shock transfer worth up to $60 million (£38.7 million), which was a British transfer record at the time.
In terms of similar high-profile additions in the early years of City’s rise, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero were both brought in for handsome fees of $40 million (£27 million) and $56 million (£36 million) a year apart, eventually going down as modern day legends at the club.
To get to the more eye-watering sums of money that the Blues have spent in the last decade or so, you need to fast forward a few seasons.
Incredibly, 10 players have broken the £50 million mark when signing for Manchester City, all having been acquired since the 2015-16 campaign. In that year, Raheem Sterling joined the side from Liverpool for a fee of $70 million (£57 million), making him at the time the most expensive player transfer in history.
Kevin De Bruyne later topped that figure, swapping Wolfsburg for Manchester in the same campaign, in a deal worth $83 million (£68.4 million) which to date makes him the second most expensive conquest in the club’s history. Riyad Mahrez, Ruben Dias, and Joao Cancelo come just behind the Belgium superstar to make up the top five with their three combined fees totaling over $220 million (£180 million).
Last but certainly not least, Jack Grealish is City’s first player to be purchased for over £100 million pounds, joining from boyhood club Aston Villa in the summer of 2021. Standing at $129 million (£105.75 million), Grealish is the most expensive transfer in British football history.
Jack Grealish becomes Britain’s first £100m player! 🌟
Enjoy a look back at the Top 10 most expensive British transfers…
(Via Transfermarkt) pic.twitter.com/viS3ySHhXI
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 5, 2021
How much did Manchester City’s current squad cost?
Overall, Manchester City’s current squad cost $1.1 billion (£895 million) to assemble, making it one of the most expensive squads in world football.
The list of player acquisition costs are organized in order of transfer fees as reported by Transfermarkt.
|J. Grealish||$129.25||£105.75||Aston Villa||Aug. 2021|
|K. De Bruyne||$83.6||£68.40||VfL Wolfsburg||Aug. 2015|
|R. Dias||$74.8||£61.20||Benfica||Sept. 2020|
|R. Mahrez||$74.58||£61.02||Leicester City||July 2018|
|J. Cancelo||$71.5||£58.50||Juventus||Aug. 2019|
|A. Laporte||$71.5||£58.50||Athletic Bilbao||Jan. 2018|
|R. Sterling||$70.1||£57.33||Liverpool||July 2015|
|Rodri||$68.97||£56.43||Atletico Madrid||July 2019|
|$63.2||£51.75||AS Monaco||July 2017|
|J. Stones||$61.2||£50.04||Everton||Aug. 2016|
|K. Walker||$57.97||£47.43||Tottenham||July 2017|
|B. Silva||$55||£45||AS Monaco||July 2017|
|N. Ake||$49.8||£40.77||Bournemouth||Aug. 2020|
|Fernandinho||$44||£36||Shakhtar Donetsk||July 2013|
|G. Jesus||$35.2||£28.80||Palmeiras||Jan. 2017|
|I. Gundogan||$29.7||£24.30||Borussia Dortmund||July 2016|
|Z. Steffen||$7.5||£6.14||Columbus Crew||July 2019|
|O. Zinchenko||$2.2||£1.8||Ufa||July 2016|
|S. Carson||Free transfer||Free transfer||Derby County||July 2021|
|TOTAL||$1.1 billion||£895 million|