In amongst all the lavish spending, splashing vast sums of money to introduce themselves as real contenders on both the domestic and European stage, Manchester City managed to capture a real gem for a sum that, in terms of current fees at least, was essentially a free transfer.
Vincent Kompany, regarded as one of the brightest defensive prospects in the game, was brought to Eastlands with the promise of starting regularly for a side with one aspiration in mind - ousting arch-rivals Manchester United to claim the Premier League title for the first time in their history.
Brazilian striker Jo was the first to arrive that summer, joining for an £18m figure that his performances failed to truly match. Tal Ben Haim (£5m) was the next player through the door, while Shaun Wright-Phillips (£8.5), Robinho (£32.5m), Wayne Bridge (£10m), Craig Bellamy (£14m), Nigel de Jong (£16m), Shay Given (£6m), Pablo Zabaleta and Kompany also joined.
© Getty Images
The intervening years show that the value of a player is not always a true representation of their quality, with the latter two of that mega-rich list, who joined for a combined fee of less than £13m, proving to be City's star recruits in terms of longevity and consistent performances.
It is Kompany in particular, though, the man who has skippered City to two league crowns, who has truly proved to be one of the finest signings in the illustrious history of the English top flight.
"Vincent is one of the outstanding talents in Europe and understands the ambition of the club," then-manager Mark Hughes said at the time. "We want to be a young, vibrant team with energy and technical ability. He comes into the category of the kind of young player we are trying to attract."
Just two days later, the Belgium international - with 23 caps to his name at the time - made his Prem debut in a straightforward 3-0 win over West Ham United. It would be the start of a magical journey, but a 10th-placed finish in his first campaign in Manchester, and a fifth-place finish the following year, underlined that work still needed to be done to break into the elite.
© Getty Images
Then, in 2010-11, Kompany helped guide the Citizens into the top four, racking up a half-century of appearances along the way as Roberto Mancini's side finally emerged as contenders. But the Brussels-born stalwart did not not join the club three years prior just to make up the numbers in the Premier League title race.
"The chance came at the right moment - this is a club with a lot of ambition," he said upon signing a four-year deal at City. "I just had a good feeling about this move. When you feel they are dynamic people at City, who know a lot about football, you realise you are in a good environment to improve your game."
Kompany, and indeed the success-starved City fanbase, got their wish the following season when, for the first time in 44 years, they finished as the country's top side.
The most memorable aspect of that famous term was the way in which Sergio Aguero stole the title away from Man United with what was essentially the last kick of the last game against Queens Park Rangers, of course, meaning that it is easy to forget Kompany's vital winner against United with three games of the season left, and also the opening goal against Liverpool at Anfield in November.
Who knows, had prolific forward Aguero - another who has more than proved his worth at the Etihad - found the side-netting instead of tucking away his last-gasp strike, things may have turned out much different in the years since.
© Getty Images
While United did win back the title the following term, thus bringing to an end Sir Alex Ferguson's career on a high note, City were once more on top in 2013-14. Kompany, named Player of the Year during the maiden league success, played a crucial part throughout once again by making 37 appearances, while also scoring in the game that sealed the title at home to West Ham United.
Things were not quite so rosy last time out, with the skipper seemingly falling out of favour after failing to match previous heights, but as his storming start to this season underlines, you should never write a good man off. Kompany now has two Premier League titles under his belt, a World Cup quarter-final appearance with Belgium in the bag, and numerous individual accolades.
Now he faces his biggest challenge - keeping hold of his place in the Manchester City starting lineup, and proving that he still has the ability which marked him out as one to watch all those years ago when Mark Hughes made the plunge to win his signature. Some players never quite live up to their valuation; others simply prove to be invaluable.body check tags ::