The way Manchester City have gone about their business under the guidance of their director of football Txiki Begiristain rarely gets the praise it deserves.
Whether it be the efficient way they handle the transfer market or the club's sensible approach to renewing the contracts of their best players, there are seemingly very few prepared to laud Begiristain for the intelligence he has brought to his role as the most important person in terms of the day-to-day running of the club.
The latest example of Begiristain’s brilliance was evidenced today with the announcement via City's official website that influential playmaker David Silva has signed a new five-year deal. There could hardly be a more pleasing piece of news for the City fans.
In his four years at the club, Silva has been central to City winning two league titles, an FA Cup and a League Cup. He’s the hub of creativity in this City side—their most important attacking player and the one the other players look to give the ball to every time they pick it up.
He drops his shoulder to beat players, keeps possession in the tightest of situations, has a brilliant eye for a pass and controls City’s play with his calmness and vision. His form since his arrival in 2010 has secured his place in the pantheon of City. In fact, there’s now a very good argument he is the greatest ever to play for the Blues.
Speaking of his new deal, the 28-year-old who has 83 caps for Spain said:
From the moment I joined the club four years ago it has felt like a second home to me.
On and off the pitch, I feel incredibly content and fulfilled, so why wouldn't I stay and keep winning trophies with a fantastic team?
Over the last four years, we have achieved so much together, establishing City as a dominating force in England.
Now, when I look around this dressing room, I can see no reason why we won't become one of the top teams in the world.
It was a straightforward decision to extend my stay here and spend my peak years at Manchester City, a club with unbelievable fans who have always supported me.
Keeping the best players at the club is just as important as adding new signings, and under Begiristain that process appears to have been mastered. Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri, Pablo Zabaleta and Silva have all signed new bumper deals under his guidance, after club captain Vincent Kompany had signed a six-year deal a few months prior to his arrival, having previously been director of football at Barcelona.
Last season was arguably Silva's best. Initially operating in a position wide on the left where he would cut inside and look to link play, he was eventually moved into the No. 10 role in the closing months of the campaign where he flourished still further.
His performances away at Anfield, Old Trafford and the Emirates were his crowning glories, but he was City's best player week in, week out in a role that suits his talents perfectly. It was his form, perhaps more than any other player's, that was the key to City's second title in three years.
It's probably the last big contract he signs at City, with smaller extensions probably only necessary should the club want to tighten their grip on the Spaniard in future years. And it's that kind of security Begiristain desires where City's core of world-class talent is concerned.
It's the best piece of business the club has managed this summer.
And it is the latest in a long line of decisions taken by Begiristain since his arrival in late-2012 that proves his presence has been pivotal. Brian Marwood received a lot if unfair press during his time spent as the Spaniard's predecessor, with the media willfully ignoring his role in bringing the likes of Silva and Aguero to the club, as well as his desire to see Patrick Vieira involved with the youth side.
However, it's difficult not to recognise Begiristain has been a huge step up and has taken City to a new level. With the likes of him and Silva at the Etihad, the club's period as the dominant force in English football is likely to be extended.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2014-15 season. Follow him on Twitter here: @RobPollard.