There is almost a perfect symmetry for Manuel Akanji’s first two seasons as a City player.

Stats-wise, that comes in the number of games he’s played in each of those campaigns – 48 in both – but that also applies in consistency levels, where the Swiss defender has been continually excellent.

It’s fair to say that Akanji somehow slipped under the radar of many of Europe’s top clubs, but not City’s.

The reported fee made his signature from Borussia Dortmund seem like the Club were adding defensive reinforcements and that Akanji would be a good squad addition, if not a first choice selection.

But it didn’t take long before Pep Guardiola realised what this calm, collected and competitive central defender brought to his team.

Akanji has become a staple of City’s back line and the 2023/34 saw him add another string to his bow.

With John Stones plagued by a number of niggling issues, it was Akanji that Guardiola turned to as the innovative centre-back/midfielder.

The Swiss star admitted it was a completely new role to advance forward regularly, but he adapted fantastically well throughout the campaign.

And the stats for the season just gone are evidence of just how much Akanji’s role changed.

In his first season, he completed 3,,088 successful passes – in 2023/24, that number increased to 3,259.

And his goal tally quadrupled – albeit from one goal to four – but his stats for through balls, crosses and accurate long  balls all showed healthy increases as well.

Tellingly, no defender played more games than Akanji last season as he went on to record a second Premier League title to add to his Treble achievements the year before.

Deceptively quick, strong in the air and full-blooded in the tackle, it’s hard to find any chinks in the Switzerland international’s armour.

Six trophies won to date and the complete trust of his manager, the 28-year-old is arguably just reaching the peak of his powers and remains one of the Club’s most astute signings of recent times.

Season stats

Played (all comps): 48

Goals: 4

Minutes played: 3863

Tackles won: 38

Duels won: 141

In his own words

“Now I don’t have a real position. When I came here I was a centre-back who had played full-back a couple of times. I knew I could do it but it wasn’t my best position.

“Here it is so different. The way you play full-back is different. Sometimes you are a third centre-back or in some games you are more in midfield, so a lot of things come with this position, it’s never the same. I’m just trying to learn the roles.

“I enjoy the adaptability. I have never played three games in a row in the same position!”

Pep on Akanji

“What a signing. We are so lucky to have him.

“We had a feeling we needed a central defender, so we moved quickly when we had the chance to get him.

“He is a lovely guy, can play in different positions. Normally a central defender but (he can play) right back, holding midfield.

“He is open minded, well educated, so intelligent. It’s a joy to work with Manu every single day.”