Manchester City have completed the signing of Fernandinho for £30m. However, it was only when the 28-year-old Brazil midfielder agreed to waive £4m worth of bonus payments he was entitled to, that the Ukrainian champions, Shakhtar Donetsk, agreed to the transfer.
Shakhtar were believed to be holding out for a minimum of £34m until Fernandinho's forfeiture of his bonuses cleared the way for the deal negotiated by Manchester City's director of football, Txiki Begiristain.
Despite winning four consecutive Ukrainian titles, Fernandinho was desperate to leave the country's industrial heartland. He said it was not so much the money he might earn in Manchester – Rinat Akhmetov, an oligarch worth more than Roman Abramovich, bankrolls Shakhtar. However, the desire to play for Brazil in a home World Cup had become a burning issue. Although he already has five caps, he said: "I believe my chances of making the World Cup squad would improve if I joined Manchester City. My exposure would be better because I believe Brazil is biased against the Ukrainian league. What we do is not recognised in my country.
"This is a change and a challenge and a chance I have been waiting a long time for. Professionally, it is a spectacular thing for me. Playing for a huge club in a huge league makes me so happy. I know I will face challenges but I am prepared for them. Every player at a high level faces pressure and must respond. I am ready for that."
Fernandinho is likely to be City's biggest signing before Manuel Pellegrini's appointment as manager next week. He is the kind of powerful holding midfielder that City hoped to buy last summer before Bayern Munich beat them to Javi Martinez's signature. Their second choice, Javi Garcia, bought for £15.8m from Benfica, did not remotely live up to his billing. His future and that of Gareth Barry, who is in the last year of his contract, must now be open to question.
Fernandinho, who has been compared in style to Chelsea's Ramires, is more naturally attacking than either and should provide powerful support for Yaya Touré in central midfield. Begiristain's other signing, Jesus Navas, bought from Sevilla for £15.9m, will be used aggressively down the right wing.
The fact that both have been signed well before City embark on their summer tour of South Africa and Hong Kong suggests that the mistakes of last summer, when Roberto Mancini was forced to rely on late, second-choice signings, has been learned.
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