Edin Dzeko has signed a new four-year contract at Manchester City, a deal that keeps him at the club until the summer of 2018. Dzeko joins Samir Nasri, Aleksandar Kolarov, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany in committing their long-term futures to the club this summer.
Dzeko, who played a crucial role in City’s title win last season by scoring 16 league goals, had entered the final 12 months of his previous deal. Manuel Pellegrini, the City boss, and Txiki Begiristain, the club’s director of football, were both keen to extend his stay.
Dzeko told the club's official website he was delighted to have signed:
I’m really happy here at City, it's a second home to me, so it was an easy decision to stay for the long-term.
I knew from the beginning when I started here that I wanted to stay for a long time - I can't see any place better than here.
I'm settled perfectly to life here, I know my teammates, the club, the team, very well and I feel like I can improve even more.
Over the last three and a half years we’ve made history together but I feel like we are only at the start of something really special.
There are still so many objectives and goals that I want to reach from my career in the game and I believe that I am in the perfect place to achieve them all.
The fans have always shown so much faith in my ability and I feel so much love, both from supporters inside Manchester and from those all over the world.
It’s the latest example of the club’s commitment to securing its most talented players on long-term deals.
Begiristain has not only overseen another well-prepared and efficient transfer window, but he has worked hard convincing the club’s finest crop of current players to remain at the Etihad for the foreseeable future.
It’s a fitting reward for Dzeko, whose status at City has risen considerably since the turn of the year.
His big-money move from Wolfsburg in 2011 excited the City fans. They had long felt they needed a physical striker who possessed both technical excellence and an ability to hold the ball up.
However, Dzeko’s form was frequently erratic, and he too often looked disinterested and low in confidence. He failed to nail down a first-team place, and by the end of the 2012/13 season, it looked likely he would depart.
The arrival of Pellegrini, though, saw a change in mood among the City players, many of whom had become tired of Roberto Mancini’s autocratic regime.
Heard interesting line out of #MCFC today about Roberto Mancini wanting to sign Edinson Cavani in his final season at club (1/2)— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) August 17, 2014
(2/2) As soon as Pellegrini came in, he kiboshed deal. Preferred to keep faith in Dzeko, as proven Prem player. Clearly thinks lot of him— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) August 17, 2014
Pellegrini valued Dzeko and gave him a starting berth for the first few matches of the season, but inconsistency continued to blight the Bosnian’s form.
Alvaro Negredo soon became Pellegrini’s preferred partner for the irrepressible Aguero, and the Spaniard bagged 23 goals in all competitions before the end of January, linking up brilliantly with his strike partner in the process.
Negredo’s form was scintillating, but after the win away at Tottenham in January, it collapsed badly, and he failed to score in his last 16 appearances of the season.
Add to that the niggling injuries Aguero was suffering and City’s title chances took a hammering. Dzeko, though, would emerge as a hero.
With the two strikers who had led the way for much of the season struggling for form and fitness, and with Stevan Jovetic still only feeling his way into Premier League life after an injury-ravaged start to life in England, Dzeko’s performances picked up drastically.
He had always scored goals, but now his link-up play and all-round game were improving and becoming more consistent than at any other time of his City career.
And in the final weeks of the season, when City were in need of some inspiration to overhaul a Liverpool side that seemed increasingly likely to win the title, Dzeko scored vital goals away at Palace and Everton (two), as well as a double at home to Villa.
It’s one thing scoring the fourth or fifth in games won at a canter; it’s quite another scoring critical ones that make or break a season. When City needed him most, Dzeko delivered emphatically.
His role last season has won over many who questioned his ability to perform consistently. A confidence player who thrives on knowing he is valued by those around him, Dzeko has finally established himself in the City side and won the hearts of the fans.
His wonderful performance in the first game of this season away at Newcastle, where he showed deft touches and aerial dominance throughout, suggests he's hit the ground running this term.
With the backing of a manager who clearly rates him, Dzeko is well worthy of a new deal.
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.