Sven-Goran Eriksson’s 10 Man City signings in the crazy 2007/08 season and what happened next – Dominic Farrell

Following the move to what was then known as the City of Manchester Stadium in 2003, enthusiasm swiftly evaporated as a period of drift took hold during the later days of Kevin Keegans reign and the duration of Stuart Pearces tenure.

A buyout by former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra would prove to be every bit as dubious as many feared at the time.

But the accompanying arrival of former England manager Eriksson gave the club a shot in the arm it badly needed.

At West Ham on the opening day of the 2007/08 season, 36 days on from his appointment, eight City players made their first-team debuts following a trolley dash around Europe.

Some of those new signings became instant heroes, while others missed the mark – as youd expect from a squad that went on to beat Manchester United home and away but concluded their campaign with a farcical 8-1 loss at Middlesbrough.

Here, we have a look at Svens men, what they brought to City and what happened next.

A cultured defender, equally at home at right-back and centre-half at this early stage of his career, Corluka looked set to have a long and fruitful City career ahead of him.

However, he was one of the faces that didnt fit when Mark Hughes replaced Eriksson a year later. Pablo Zabaletas arrival signposted Corlukas departure, with his winning spot-kick in the UEFA Cup shoot-out win over FC Midtjylland his final contribution in a sky blue shirt.

The absurd 2008 deadline day that ended with Robinho signing for City in a British record deal began with Corluka switching to Tottenham. He spent three-and-a-half seasons in north London before joining Lokomotiv Moscow via a loan stint at Bayer Leverkusen.

Vedran retired earlier this year after almost a decade in the Russian capital and he is now an assistant coach with his country Croatia, having become a cap centurion alongside the likes of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic at international level.

Charting the path from Shakhtar Donetsk to Manchester that Fernandinho would follow over half a decade later, silky Brazilian playmaker Elano quickly won the hearts of City fans.

He set up the opening goal in that celebratory 2-0 opening day win at West Ham, while his unerring free-kick missile into the top corner during a 3-1 September win over Newcastle United remains one of the finest goals the Etihad Stadium has ever seen.

Elano was also a virtual guarantee from the penalty spot, although his on-field union with Robinho ultimately promised more than it was allowed to deliver under Hughes. He still had a bravura UEFA Cup performance against Hamburg in the locker, where he scored and clattered both posts as City heroically bowed out in a quarter-final thriller.

Fans were still sad to see Elano go, given he was a player who could certainly have thrived alongside the calibre of players signed as the money rolled in. A return to Santos in his homeland followed and the 40-year-old largely remained in Brazil thereafter, where he left his job as head coach of Serie D club Ferroviaria on a mutual agreement after their relegation last season.

As City made a flying start to the season, Petrov starred alongside Elano. A winger with elite pedigree, his rampaging performances down the left-flank evoked City greats of old.

Like Elano, he suffered some frustrations under Hughes but managed to outlast the Welshman, scoring in Roberto Mancinis first game at the helm against Stoke City on Boxing Day 2009.

Injuries then took a toll, however, and Petrov left when his contract expired in June 2010. Spells with Bolton and Espanyol followed before returning to his native Bulgaria with CSKA Sofia.

Unlike some who returned for Vincent Kompanys testimonial in 2019, Petrov had kept himself in very good shape and displayed plenty of the tricks of old.

Italian striker Bianchi was the beneficiary of Elanos dreamy ball across the West Ham area on that balmy east London afternoon. The 8.8 million signing from Reggina looked like the perfect attacking spearhead of the Sven revolution.

He didnt manage a second Premier League goal until December and, although that prompted a flurry of three in four outings, he was back in Italy on loan at Lazio the following month.

I am learning the language but I have raised the white flag with English food. I dont like it, Bianchi said at the time, having unapologetically struggled to adapt to new surroundings. I think I am the only teetotaller in the whole Premier League. My teammates were surprised when I refused a mouthful of beer. They looked at me as if I was an extra-terrestrial.

Bianchi joined Torino on a permanent deal in 2008 and scored 77 times in 179 appearances for the Turin club, before considerably less-fruitful jaunts to Atalanta, Mallorca, Perugia and Pro Vercelli.

Bianchis culture shock wouldnt have been such a problem for Eriksson had it not been for the cruciate ligament injury that Bojinov suffered on his full debut in Augusts Manchester derby.

The highly-rated Bulgarian arrived from Fiorentina but cruel injury blows would remain the theme of his time in Manchester. A prolific pre-season in 2008 merely preceded him rupturing an Achilles tendon in the warm-up before an opening Premier League match at Aston Villa.

By the time Bojinov returned, City were under new ownership. He scored his first Premier League goal for the Blues on his final appearance versus Tottenham on the last day of the 2008/09 campaign. Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz and Emmanuel Adebayor all arrived the following summer.

A nomadic career followed, including stints with Parma, Sporting Lisbon, Partizan Belgrade and Levski Sofia, where the 35-year-old signed a one-year contract extension earlier this year to prolong a third spell with the club.

He became assistant manager at Septemvri Sofia in June 2022, while still playing for the club.

Former Barcelona attacker Geovanni completed the opening victory at West Ham with a debut goal from the bench and his deflected long-range strike sent Eastlands into raptures in the Manchester derby.

It proved to be the only goal as the Blues held out for a hard-fought win over Sir Alex Fergusons side, although the impressive form of Elano and Stephen Ireland meant he struggled for regular starts and that derby-day strike remained the high point of a one-season City career.

Geovanni then joined Premier League newcomers Hull City and another early-season goal rush followed, including memorable efforts in upset triumphs at Tottenham and Arsenal.

A stint with San Jose Earthquakes followed before Geovanni concluded his career back in Brazil with Vitoria.

A technically gifted left-back, Garrido began the season as Erikssons first-choice before defensive vulnerabilities saw him fall behind the experienced Michael Ball in the pecking order.

Garridos wand of a left foot saw him dispatch a free-kick the following season against Liverpool and, as one of the few Sven buys to outlast Hughes, he did likewise at the start of the Mancini era in a win at Wolves.

He moved to Lazio in 2010 and returned to England as a more rounded performer with Norwich City in 2012. Garrido, 36, joined Las Palmas after four years in Norfolk and closed out his playing days at Real Union after a spell with Cypriot club AEK Larnaca.

He comes from Zimbabwe, he scores on derby day.

Benjani enjoyed an unforgettable debut, glancing home Petrovs first-half cross for what would prove to be the decisive goal in Citys first win at Old Trafford since 1974.

Like Geovanni, a derby goal would remain his standalone City highlight following a deadline day move from Portsmouth.

Persistent thigh injuries hampered his progress under Hughes and an FA Cup winner at Middlesbrough during the early days of Mancini was effectively a swansong before he was loaned to Sunderland.

A move to Blackburn and a return to Portsmouth followed before Benjani completed his professional career in South Africa. A goal in Kompanys testimonial was rapturously received at the Etihad Stadium, as the old song cranked up one more time.

Bojinovs injury and Bianchis departure left Eriksson scrambling for January attacking reinforcements as Citys designs on reaching Europe started to meet with harsh reality.

Hulking forward Caicedo joined from Basel and made his debut from the bench in the Benjani derby. All 10 of his appearances under Sven came from the bench and did not yield a goal.

The Ecuadorian youngster was incredibly raw at the time and, although he showed flashes of his potential in amassing seven goals in 2008/09, he was another player whose development was outstripped by that of the club as a whole.

Nevertheless, Caicedo has gone on to enjoy a fine career, largely in Spain and Italy. His final loan spell away from City at Levante in 2010/11 saw him score 14 times in 29 appearances, although he played for Lokomotiv Moscow and Al-Jazira before returning LaLiga with Espanyol in 2014.

At Lazio, where he played for four seasons from August 2017, Caicedo became something of a late-goal specialist. HE had further Serie A stints with Genoa and then on loan at Inter, before a move to Saudi Arabian club Abha..

Plenty of the names above, for one reason or another, fall into the cult hero category. But, be honest, youd forgotten Nery Castillo ever played for City, hadnt you?

And yet, the Mexico forwards one-year loan signing from Shakhtar in December 2008 was one that caused plenty of buzz. Castillo had been a highly-rated youngster at Olympiacos and his arrival was supposed to propel the Blues charge for a UEFA Cup spot.

Eriksson marvelled at Castillo paying half of his loan fee to make the move happen, but his City career never got going after he suffered a fractured shoulder in an FA Cup replay against West Ham.