The Brazilian goalkeeper has been rewarded with a contract extension until 2025 after a stunning debut season at the Etihad Stadium
It has been quite a year for Ederson. He has gone from a relative unknown, with no international caps to his name, to one of the most exciting and unique players in football, on his way to the World Cup.
Manchester City had an idea of what was to come; they were so convinced that the 23-year-old Brazilian, with limited top-level experience, was the man to rectify their goalkeeping problem that they rushed to agree the terms of a £35 million deal - huge for a keeper - with Benfica by the end of last May.
But surely they could not have imagined how successful he would go on to be and, now, at the end of his first full campaign, he has been handed a new contract, tying him to the club until 2025 - another seven years.
City have so many excellent players, but only a handful are vital to their entire approach under Pep Guardiola. Ederson is one. Already.
You need only look at Guardiola's sheer desire (a need, in reality) to get rid of Joe Hart and replace him with somebody more capable with his feet to know how important the goalkeeper is to the Catalan's plans.
Guardiola took plenty of criticism for buying Claudio Bravo and, while the Chilean himself was not the right choice, the thinking behind the move is now fully vindicated, thanks to Ederson’s success.
Yet, it was a brave decision to sign the youngster and, if an experienced international like Bravo could have struggled so badly in a new league in a new country, who was to say Ederson, then 23 and with 10 Champions League appearances under his belt, would have fared any better?
All of that Bravo baggage, plus a transfer fee that bordered on a world record, ensured the pressure was on from the start. And, when he messed up on his very first City appearance, a friendly against Manchester United, it did not take long for that pressure to build. Newspaper columns compared his mishap with Bravo's miserable season, and speculated that Guardiola had been sold another pup.
Another dodgy keeper would’ve meant another dodgy City and it cannot have been easy for Ederson to deal with what was expected of him, both by outsiders and by Guardiola himself.
But that is one of the things about Ederson; you would never know he feels any pressure at all.
Look at him when he’s got the ball at his feet 20 yards outside his own penalty area, with an opposition forward bearing down on him. Nothing. Look at him two yards from his goal line, with a striker right on top of him. Nothing. He doesn’t flinch. He’ll just step the other way and pick out a team-mate, whether close-by or 60 yards away. He fumbled a shot once, nearly dropping the ball over his line, but he didn’t chuck himself after it, he just turned around and calmly picked it up.
His calmness under pressure is, in some ways, unsettling. It’s like he’s not human, like you’re not watching a footballer on Match of the Day, but some kind of cold-blooded mammal on Blue Planet. You could easily imagine that his resting heart rate is a steady three beats per minute.
The things he does with the ball are not normal, either. This is not hyperbole; last week he set a Guinness World Record for the longest goal kick in football. It was 75.35 metres. From a dead ball. At Benfica he set up a goal in a Cup final by landing a goal kick on the very edge of the opposition penalty area. A couple of times at City he has put team-mates through on goal, but they have not been able to convert. City players know he can find them from anywhere and so do the opposition; that’s why they don’t know whether to push up when the Blues have a goal kick, or drop deep and guard against the ball over the top. If you do neither, and get caught in between, you’re done for. Ederson does not just kick it far, he kicks it accurately. Against Everton at the end of March he picked out Leroy Sane in acres of space in the centre circle. City had the ball in the back of the net about seven seconds later.
And that’s just the balls off the ground. His distribution out of his hands is something else completely; the ball finds the same team-mates, travels the same distances, but in a completely different way. He can drop-kick it 60-80 yards, but it’s not unusual for the ball to never be more than five yards off the floor. His throws go almost as far.
It’s all so eye-catching.
And that’s what makes him such a compelling, unique character. He is not the first goalkeeper to come out of his area, not the first to play the ball out with pin-point accuracy. It’s the way he does it that’s different to the likes of Peter Schmeichel and Manuel Neuer.
He is a one-of-a-kind.
He makes saves, of course. Some good ones, too, the kind people have looked out for to see if he really is better than Bravo. A double save at Old Trafford, a fine reflex save at Burnley, a penalty save at Crystal Palace that preserved City’s unbeaten run.
The examples are few and far between largely thanks to City’s front-foot approach. He does not face many shots because teams so rarely get in on goal, or if they do he’ll come off his line and stop them first.
He is so compelling, so entertaining to watch and so important to City, but that’s not to say he is the best around, not just yet anyway.
There have been a couple of fumbles, and worryingly two of them against Liverpool in the Champions League. Yet to focus on them would be to ignore the huge amounts of good he has done this season, to ignore his potential to improve, and to disregard the context of what could have easily been every bit as difficult a debut season as Bravo’s.
But it wasn’t. It has been an overwhelming success, and on the day he danced down the touchline to celebrate his countryman Gabriel Jesus, sealing City’s 100-point season with a last-gasp goal, his exploits have been rewarded with a new contract. On Monday he will be named in Brazil’s World Cup squad. Ederson’s future is bright, and it belongs to Manchester City.