The Citizens’ manager at the time, Roberto Mancini, certainly didn’t mess about when it came to recruiting players that summer, spending over £100m on players such as Yaya Toure, Mario Balotelli, Aleksandar Kolarov, James Milner and Jerome Boateng.
Toure’s arrival from Barcelona was a huge statement of intent but on par with the capture of the Ivorian powerhouse was that of World Cup winner David Silva from Valencia for just £24m.
Both Toure and Silva will go down in history as two of City’s greatest ever players given their immense contributions over the past six and a half years but now they are in their 30s, replacements will be needed perhaps sooner rather than later.
Under Pep Guardiola, Toure has already begun his phasing out process despite some encouraging recent performances. However, Silva remains an integral member of the side – so much so that only Kevin de Bruyne and Fernandinho are the only City players to have played more minutes in the Premier League.
For the majority of his time in Manchester, Silva has been the creator-in-chief for his team supplying a monstrous 52 assists in the Premier League since the start of 2011/12, a tally that is 12 more than any other player in that time. This season, meanwhile, he has tended to operate slightly deeper where he has acted as the tempo-setter.
Silva could well stay at City for a few years yet but as he gets older the search for his successor will become increasingly pressing. Here are six players City could call upon to replace their Spanish magician.
Isco (Real Madrid)
Career appearances: 259
Career goals & assists: 43/51
2016/17 standout stat: Isco has a pass accuracy rate of 90% in La Liga and has registered three assists.
If City could have their pick of players to replace Silva, Real Madrid’s Isco may well be the man at the very top of their list, given his considerable quality and similar style to his compatriot.
Since swapping Malaga for the Bernabeu three and a half years ago, Isco has claimed two Champions League winners medals and a Copa Del Rey but rarely has he been a first-team regular.
A player of his talent deserves to play more frequently and with Guardiola known to be a fan a move to City perhaps isn’t out of the realms of possibility.
Koke (Atletico Madrid)
Career appearances: 291
Career goals & assists: 25/76
2016/17 standout stat: Koke has completed 1,079 passess in La Liga, more than any other player in the division.
Koke is certainly different in style to Silva, offering a more combative and tenacious presence in midfield while he isn’t as smooth a ball carrier as his international colleague.
Nevertheless, Koke has proven to be a consistent supplier of chances and assists for his teammates, especially in the last 18-months and his eye for a pass and ability to retain possession mark him out as a potential Silva replacement.
Denis Suarez (Barcelona)
Career appearances: 150
Career goals & assists: 18/31
2016/17 standout stat: Suarez has a pass accuracy rate of 88% in La Liga and has provided two assists.
Ironically, City had Denis Suarez in their ranks after signing him from Celta Vigo in 2011 but after two years they inexplicably let him leave for Barcelona. The Catalan’s interest in Suarez perhaps should’ve been an indicator that he was worth keeping.
Since leaving the Etihad, Suarez has developed into one of the most highly-rated young playmakers in Spain and while he will no doubt be determined to prosper at Camp Nou, a lack of first-team action could hasten his departure.
Mahmoud Dahoud (Borussia Monchengladbach)
Career appearances: 62
Career goals & assists: 6/11
2016/17 standout stat: 60.4% of Dahoud’s passes have been to teammates in advanced positions in the Bundesliga.
The breakout star of the Bundesliga last season. Mahmoud Dahoud immediately caught the eye for Die Fohlen last season, largely due to his exceptional range of passing and ability to play defence-splitting passes. His weight of pass is also often perfect.
Dahoud, whose slight frame also bears resemblance to Silva, glides across the ground and is deceptively quick with the ball at his feet. During his fledgling career thus far, Dahoud has tended to play in a deep midfield position but he certainly has the characteristics to move into a more advanced role in the future.
Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen)
Career appearances: 206
Career goals & assists: 44/50
2016/17 standout stat: Calhanoglu has supplied four assists from 20 chances created in the Bundesliga.
Remarkably still only 22, Hakan Calhanoglu is one of those players who seems to have been around for years already – that ridiculous free-kick he scored from near the halfway line for Hamburg against Borussia Dortmund was nearly three years ago now.
The Turkish international has certainly racked up the appearances already and while he is still not the finished article, his statistics are extremely impressive with a goal or assist coming at a rate close to one every two games.
Hakim Ziyech (Ajax)
Career appearances: 140
Career goals & assists: 53/49
2016/17 standout stat: Ziyech has created 46 chances in only 12 Eredivisie matches.
It can be notoriously difficult to accurately gauge whether a star in the Eredivisie can transfer their skills to a more competitive division, yet there is a growing feeling that Hakim Ziyech has outgrown the Dutch top-flight.
The Moroccan playmaker was the standout player in the league last season while playing for FC Twente and since joining Ajax in the summer he has become their star player.
Ziyech possesses a wand of a left foot, is an accomplished free-kick taker and scores his fair share of goals and it is surely a matter of time before a major club takes a chance on him.
And don’t forget about Phil Foden…
Described as one of the brightest young talents in English football, Phil Foden was included in Manchester City’s squad for their Champions League dead rubber against Celtic in December.
Blessed with outstanding technical ability, Foden has been compared in style to Andres Iniesta due to his excellent passing and propensity to weave past opponents. Remember the name…