Manchester City announced they've agreed to terms with Benfica for the services of their up-and-coming goalkeeper, Ederson. The 23-year-old Brazilian reportedly cost the Premier League club a cool £35 million, making him the most expensive keeper of all time.
That's more than Juventus paid Parma for Gianluigi Buffon and David de Gea cost Man United from Atletico and ... well, you get the idea. It's a lot of cash to pay for a shot-stopper, but the transfer market is unlike anything we've ever seen before.
So, how good of a transfer is this for the Citizens?
At age 23, Ederson is just scratching the surface of his talent. Goalkeepers typically peak at a later age than field players, given the demands and nuance of the position. With that in mind, Ederson already has the basics covered and then some. His reactions are lightning quick and he's tough to beat even in a 1v1. In 27 appearances in the Primeira Liga with Benfica, he conceded just 12 goals and kept 18 clean sheets.
He's also physically imposing. He shows an adept command of his box and isn't shy when it comes to connecting with a punch or collecting a contested ball. If you want a brilliant highlight tape, check out Benfica's first leg in the Champions League round of 16 against Dortmund. Benfica would wind up losing the tie in the end, but Ederson kept them afloat in the first leg, shutting out a team that scored 21 group-stage goals.
Sometimes, Ederson's temper can get the best of him. He's a very passionate player that plays like his hair is on fire. Normally, that translates to dominance in the box and an ability to amp up his teammates. Occasionally, though, it can teeter over the edge and become detrimental. He picked up four yellow cards in the league this season for some reckless play and even earned a straight red in another match.
It's not the end of the world and surely something that can be straightened out, but finding a way to keep himself disciplined will be paramount under the never-ending scrutiny of the Premier League.
At one point last season, Guardiola said he no longer had a No. 1 goalkeeper. With Ederson in the fold, that should no longer be an issue going forward. The Brazilian might take a few beats to play exactly the way Guardiola likes his keepers to play, but he's already proven that he can play quite comfortably with the ball at his feet.
On the flip side, a reported £35 million is a hefty fee for a keeper. Ederson has only been an out-and-out starter at a top-flight club for one season, too. He made spot starts for Benfica before displacing Julio Cesar for good last season. Is there reason to believe there's not a long enough track record to justify City's purchase? Probably not, especially since he's not a finished product yet.
With all that in mind, City get an A- for the buy for the time being. If all shakes out as it is expected to, though, getting their keeper for the next decade or two will be an A+ move, regardless of price.