Eliaquim Mangala stands as a costly reminder that Manchester City have not always got it right in the transfer market in the last ten years.

The Blues defender joined from Porto in 2014 for a whopping £42million, making him the most expensive defender in British transfer history.

Fleetingly, he looked the part, impressing on his debut with a robust handling of Chelsea danger man Diego Costa.

The following week, Mangala gave away a penalty and scored an own goal as the Blues won 4-2 at Hull – and never truly recovered.

He finally left the Blues, after a brief moment of redemption when he did well in the 2017-18 title season, last summer, joining Valencia on a free transfer, having made 79 appearances for City in four years which included loan spells at Valencia and Everton.

Mangala has opened up on his time in England, and how he found it much tougher than he expected in the Premier League,

“When I signed, I was hoping to be part of a big team, win titles and play with quality players,” the 28-year-old told The Athletic.

“City were the Premier League champions and I found a league that is very tough. It was totally different to what I knew before. It was very intense.

“Everyone is strong and quick, even the little players! It’s challenges, it’s second balls. At that time, it was a bit less tactical than it is now.

Eliaquim Mangala got a few harsh words from keeper Willy Caballero in a nightmare performance at Hull
Eliaquim Mangala got a few harsh words from keeper Willy Caballero in a nightmare performance at Hull

“There are more foreign managers now, but then it was very kick and rush, very in the channels. Some teams played from the free kicks and all this stuff.

“The strategy was to jump on you. It was quite hard. That for me was the big fight and, finally, I did come to enjoy it.”

But wheh Mangala was asked which player surprised him most in the Premier League, his choice was an unexpected one.

“Shane Long! If you see him, you feel like he is quite small but he is so fast. He jumps, he runs, he presses and you feel like ‘WHAT?!’” said Mangala.

“You don’t see this kind of striker in Spain or Portugal, running, jumping on you, constantly trying to unsettle and beat you. That’s what makes the Premier League totally different.”

The choice of unfashionable Long might come down to the fact that Mangala was sent off for a second bookable offence when making a clumsy challenge on the Southampton man, as City won 3-0 at St Mary’s in 2014.