Vincent Kompany, since arriving at Manchester City in a surprisingly low-value deal from Bundesliga outfit Hamburg back in 2008, has been simply instrumental to the club's fortunes.
A colossal figure at the heart of the defence also capable of launching attacks due to his impressive range of passing and uncompromising physicality, the sturdy and affable Belgian captain has been a constant source of stability and sanity during what has been an extremely eventful - not to mention successful, of course - period in the club's long history.
Wednesday's news that Kompany - already considered a respected elder statesmen despite still only being 28-years-old - had agreed to a new five-year, £31 million deal to remain at Manchester City, in my view, comfortably represents the Citizens' most crucial piece of summer business to date.
Key to further success
Reigning top-flight champions City's previous Premier League title success - secured in incredibly tense and exciting circumstances with Sergio Aguero's last-gasp Etihad goal against Queens Park Rangers - was slightly tainted by their abject failure to capitalise during the following campaign.
This time around, with a far more settled and composed manager at the helm in the form of Manuel Pellegrini, City are far better-equipped to push on both domestically and in the Champions League.
Securing the futures of the likes of Kompany and David Silva - who also penned a new long-term deal this week - is crucial, as their experience is going to be a real asset with the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea having dramatically strengthened their respective squads in recent months.
Unlike under the guidance of Roberto Mancini, City do not appear to be just lavishing money on new recruits purely for the sake of it at present.
With Pellegrini, the club's approach in the transfer market appears far more measured, with Willy Caballero, Fernando, Bacary Sagna, Eliaquim Mangala and even surprise loan signing Frank Lampard all brought in with a clear purpose.
It is also in relation to the development of Mangala that Kompany's continued presence could have the most significant impact.
Having cost Manchester City approximately £32 million from FC Porto in a protracted saga that was finally concluded last week, the French international will be under considerable pressure to perform to a high standard from the off.
Playing alongside a figure as experienced, trustworthy and confident as Kompany should allow Mangala's transition into English football occur more easily and fans can perhaps now be fully confident that the club have finally identified a worthy partner for their loyal skipper, with neither Matija Nastasic nor Dedryck Boyata having proved themselves especially worthy during Manchester City's hugely disappointing Community Shield defeat to Arsenal at Wembley on Sunday.
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