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Eliaquim Mangala and Man City - a mis-match which took five lingering years to end

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It looked like madness throwing him in for such a big game, but he brimmed with pace, strength and quality.

9” That was how this writer assessed Eliaquim Mangala in MEN Sport’s player ratings, when the big French defender made his Manchester City debut, almost five years ago.

“Exceptional debut.

The 23-year-old had been bought from Porto for what was a big fee for a defender at the time, with David Moyes' Manchester United, Chelsea and Barcelona also having him watched as his club form earned him the first of his eight France caps.

His only starts before December came in the League Cup and a Champions League dead rubber against Feyenoord.

In March, the Blues took the puzzling step of giving Mangala a one-year contract extension, presumably in the hope he could still command a fee in the summer rather than slip away for nothing.

It did not work, and City gave up on recouping any of their monstrous outlay, allowing him to join Valencia on a free.
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