How City lined up before Emirati owners

English Premier League

Manchester City are one of the Premier League's leading powers today, but the reigning champions had a very different look about them before their Emirati owners invested billions of pounds into the club.

On 1 September 2008, the Abu Dhabi United Group (which owns the City Football Group) took over as owners of the Citizens in a move that would redefine the landscape of the EPL for years to come. 

Scroll through the gallery above to see City's most frequently used line-up before being bought by the City Football Group in 2008

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Within hours of the takeover being confirmed, City announced a then-club record £32.5 million (R704 million) deal to sign Brazil superstar Robinho from Real Madrid, which was followed by deals for Nigel de Jong, Wayne Bridge and Craig Bellamy in January.

Robinho was a marquee signing for City, however, and was seen as the spark behind a turn in fortunes for the club, who had suffered the ignominy of an 8-1 defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough on the final day of the 2007/08 campaign.

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That previous season, the Citizens had a very different look to the sides that have since dominated the Premier League, with Darius Vassell leading the line, just in front of Elano, as the club's most frequently used striker throughout the campaign.

In midfield, an ageing Dietmar Hamann featured alongside Gelson Fernandes, with Stephen Ireland and Martin Petrov occupying the wider positions. Ireland would star for City over the next season and a half before being worked out by Roberto Mancini.

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The defence was similarly ordinary in comparison to today's star-studded line-up, with the talented Micah Richards standing out in a back four that also featured Vedran Corluka, Richard Dunne and Michael Ball, while former England goalkeeper Joe Hart featured in goal.

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