This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
When Pep Guardiola came to Manchester City in the summer of 2016, one of his earliest signings was Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo from his former club Barcelona. Off the back of an iffy Premier League campaign in which they finished fourth and let in 41 goals, Bravo was intended to bring greater stability to City’s backline.
That didn’t quite materialise. There were four-goal horror shows against Barcelona, Leicester and Everton during that 2016/17 campaign, while in 30 appearances that season he leaked 34 goals (1.13 per game) and kept only nine clean sheets (30% of games), as per TransferMarkt.
By summer 2017, Guardiola must have felt that Bravo was not the netminder he needed if he was to bring the Premier League title back to the Etihad Stadium, which prompted the £35m purchase of Brazil international Ederson from Benfica.
South American football expert Tim Vickery felt that it was a positive move for Manchester City, albeit one with a risk. He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “There seems to be a bit of the Manuel Neuer in him. He’s big and commanding; there’s that chest of steel when he comes off his line very quickly.
“He looks a very promising goalkeeper indeed, but I’m not sure what his English is like, so communication could be a problem.”
As per BBC, the deal made Ederson the then-second most expensive goalkeeper of all time behind Gianluigi Buffon and he instantly displaced Bravo as Manchester City’s first choice in nets, playing in all but the final two league games of the 100-point 2017/18 season.
From conceding 39 league goals in the previous campaign, Guardiola’s side let in only 27 as they regained the Premier League crown in 2018. Ederson played 45 matches in total that season, shipping 36 goals (0.8 per game) and keeping 21 clean sheets (46.67% of games), as per TransferMarkt.
He earned a footnote in Manchester City history in the early weeks of 2018/19 when a long goal kick to Sergio Aguero ended with the Argentine scoring against Huddersfield, the first time a goalkeeper had recorded a Premier League assist for the club.
Ederson’s figures for last season were even better than in his first year at the Etihad – he was beaten only 38 times in 55 appearances (0.69 goals per game) in all competitions and recorded 28 shutouts (50.9% of games), including 20 in the Premier League as City just about fended off an extremely stern challenge from Liverpool to retain their title. [via TransferMarkt]
The Brazilian was instrumental in the run-in to that campaign, keeping four successive clean sheets in tight games against Tottenham, Manchester United, Burnley and Leicester as the champions held their nerve to win each of them. In City’s 14-game winning sequence to end the league season, he was beaten only four times. [via TransferMarkt]
Although he has let in nine goals in eight Premier League games so far this term, Ederson was one of the main reasons why City haven’t fallen even further behind Liverpool at the summit as he turned in a masterclass against Everton recently, producing six saves from the eight shots that the Toffees had on target in the champions’ 3-1 win.
While Guardiola’s team have looked shakier at the back this season compared to last, as illustrated by their much higher goal concession rate of 1.12 goals per game in the league to 0.61 per game in 2018/19, Ederson has still proven to be a stern last line of defence.
His imperious form last season, in particular, was crucial in Manchester City retaining their title and his £35m fee has been well worth it considering the stability he has brought to the team after replacing Bravo as first-choice goalkeeper at the Etihad.
Manchester City fans, do you agree that Ederson has more than paid back his £35m transfer fee at the club? Comment below with your views!
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