Manchester City’s second major foray into the transfer market – following the arrival of Monaco midfielder Bernardo Silva – saw Benfica goalkeeper Ederson join for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £35 million.
The 23-year-old has penned a six-year contract at the Etihad and will join up with his new team-mates on July 1.
Speaking to the club’s official website, director of football Txiki Begiristain was fulsome in his praise for the new signing:
“We are delighted to bring Ederson to Manchester City. He is one of the best young goalkeepers in the Europe, and he is an important addition to the squad for next season and the coming seasons. He is young, has all the qualities you could want as a top-class goalkeeper, and I think he’ll fit in really well to our squad.”
Ederson began his youth career at home town club Sao Paulo FC in Brazil, playing one season, before moving to Portugal in 2009 at the age of 16 to link up with Benfica.
He spent two years as a junior with the Portuguese giants before leaving to join Second Division side Ribeirao in 2011.
He played 29 matches for the second-tier outfit and then moved to Primeira Liga side Rio Ave in the summer of 2012.
During the 2013/14 campaign, Ederson established himself in the first-team and by the end of the 2014/15 season had amassed 37 league appearances for the club.
In June 2015, Ederson returned to Benfica, signing a five-year contract with the then Portuguese champions.
He was initially the back-up for the experienced Julio Cesar before taking advantage of an injury suffered by the former Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper to play the final 10 league matches as Benfica secured a third successive league title.
Ederson emerged as the first-choice custodian last season, making 27 league appearances. He also featured seven times in the Champions League as Benfica secured a domestic treble.
He has made five appearances for Brazil at U23 level but is still waiting to make his senior debut, although he has been an unused substitute in their last two World Cup qualifiers.
Arriving at the Etihad as the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, Ederson will be expected to emerge as City’s first-choice stopper.
Last summer, new City boss Pep Guardiola quickly decided that Joe Hart was ill-suited to operate as a ball-playing sweeper-keeper, instead deciding to spend £15.4 million plus add-ons for Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo.
But the Chilean’s poor shot-stopping, and his failure to adjust to the physical demands of the Premier League saw Willy Caballero end the campaign as City’s first-choice keeper.
But Caballero has since been released by the club, leaving Ederson and Bravo to battle it out next term.
Ederson enjoyed a hugely successful campaign last term, conceding the fewest number of goals (12) in the Primera Liga. He also kept 17 clean sheets, with only Porto’s Iker Casillas (18) recording more.
Bravo, meanwhile, managed just six shut-outs from his 22 league appearances and conceded 26 goals.
Looking into some statistics from last season, Ederson averaged 4.08 saves before conceding, compared to 1.08 for Bravo, while his average of 42.5 minutes per save is also superior to the Chilean’s 59.6. Certainly, then, the numbers suggest that Ederson’s shot-stopping ability should improve the clean sheet prospects for all members of the City backline.
Yet when you consider that City conceded fewer shots (301) than any side last season and allowed just 106 shots on target – only Chelsea boast a better record – the lack of potential save points could be a deterrent for some.
In terms of passing accuracy, Caballero (76.4%) and Bravo (72.5%) were the top two among FPL keepers with at least five starts last term as a result of Guardiola’s possession-based approach.
Although Ederson mustered 65.3% by comparison, this was partly due to the Brazilian’s average distribution length over 90 minutes being 41 metres, compared to 22 for Bravo. Indeed, his impressive passing from deep meant the new stopper averaged 7.0 successful long balls to the Chilean’s 4.5.
And Ederson has revealed he is comfortable playing in a more advanced role with plenty of involvement in build-up play, suggesting that he may be able to meet Guardiola’s expectations from the off.
Bravo was handed a price tag of 5.5 in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) last season when he was expected to be the first-choice, and that’s also likely to be the valuation placed on Ederson this time around.
That will put him line with several other premium goalkeepers, although City’s leading defenders are expected to set us back at least 6.0.
Vincent Kompany could be worth the extra outlay if he remains fit for the season kick-off. He averaged 7.7 points per match over the last six Gameweeks.
Additionally, with City in the market for full-backs – they have been strongly linked with moves for Tottenham Hotspur’s Kyle Walker, Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand and Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy – their new signings are also likely to boast plenty of upside due to their attacking potential.
Ederson won’t arrive in Manchester as the finished article, but he’s clearly been identified as a player who Guardiola can help mould into a world class operator over the coming seasons.
After improving significantly as a defensive unit upon the return to fitness of Kompany, registering shut-outs in four in their last seven matches, City defenders could boast plenty of appeal given their ability to return points at both ends of the pitch.
Ederson has the attributes to succeed at the Etihad, but given his age and the fact City will have plenty of new faces in defence, it could take some time for all to gel as a unit.
Premium options from the more settled defences such as Chelsea and Spurs may prove safer bets when formulating our Gameweek 1 squads.
But Guardiola’s men will be one of the major title favourites, and members of their backline could certainly thrive over the course of the season.