On this day in 2009: Nigel de Jong signs for Manchester City

Manchester City signed Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong on this day in 2009 as a remarkable spending spree gathered pace.

The club were undergoing an astonishing overhaul following the takeover of Sheikh Mansour the previous summer and De Jong became a key cog in their rapid transformation from mid-table battlers to eventual champions.

De Jong, then 29, penned a four-and-a-half-year contract with the Premier League club after City agreed a fee of around £18million with Hamburg.

Nigel De Jong celebrates for Manchester City
The Dutchman was a combative midfielder (Owen Humphreys/PA)

City had begun sending shockwaves through the transfer market on the day of the sheikh’s takeover in August 2008 when they snapped up Brazilian Robinho from Real Madrid for £32.5million.

They had set their sights even higher in January 2009 as they made an audacious, then world record, £100million attempt to buy Kaka from AC Milan.

That failed but De Jong’s signing, albeit far more modest, proved sensible as the defensive midfielder added steel to a side needing a grafter amid a huge influx of exciting attacking talent. Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz and Carlos Tevez were among the newcomers the following summer.

Nigel De Jong
De Jong won the Premier League and FA Cup with City (David Howarth/PA)

He later had spells in the United States, Turkey and Qatar and also earned 81 international caps before retiring in 2021.

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