By Jay Jaffa
As Shinji Kagawa netted his first goal for Manchester United and Chelsea confirmed the signing of Oscar on Wednesday, Manchester City supporters could be forgiven for wondering when their club's transfer activity might kick into gear this summer.
Having missed out to Chelsea on the signing of Eden Hazard back in May - despite at one time being hot favourites to land him - and with their pursuit of Robin van Persie continuing to stutter and stall, City's first-team squad is identical to that which secured the title on the final day of last term, with just over three weeks until the new season kicks off.
Manager Roberto Mancini is already showing the strain. “It is important [to get players quickly] because, after what we did last year, it is important we continue to win," he said on Wednesday, with a not-so-subtle hint and nudge to the club's Football Administration Officer and chief transfer negotiator, Brian Marwood.
“This year will not be easy. It will be harder than last year and for this reason, we need to improve our team."
And in the knowledge that sales have to be made and the wage bill trimmed - in line with club policy - before additions can be made to the Premier League champions' squad, a feeling of unease at their rivals' progress might threaten to permeate through the club's support.
Such unease will have been alleviated, though, by the commitment of captain and defensive rock Vincent Kompany putting pen-to-paper on a new six-year contract at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.And it may well prove to be City's best piece of business this summer - as exclusively revealed by Goal.com in March.
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 not only remains a shining light in City's decorated recent acquisitions but also the bedrock of what threatens to be a dynasty in the making.
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 its 18-year history.
|KOMPANY'S 2011-12 STATS
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 are 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 have 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.
Now is the time to build upon it.
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