In January 2003 City and Bordeaux tied up the final details of Sommeils £3m, move to Maine Road with the player having agreed a three and a half year contract. The 29-year-old Frenchman, had been a long-term target of Kevin Keegan's and had himself previously stated his desire to play in the Premiership with City on his personal website.
After a visit to the Carrington training complex, the Guadeloupe born defender agreed personal terms and subsequently passed his medical. He narrowly failed to make his country's World Cup squad last summer but has played for the French B side and is a wholehearted committed defender. He has won the French 1st Division with Caen in 1996, and the League Cup with Bordeaux in 2002.
"I am absolutely delighted that David is joining us," said Kevin Keegan to mcfc.co.uk after seeing his latest signing complete his first training session. "The one thing about David's character is that he is very, very committed. He is a B international for France and it is only because of the wealth of central defenders available to the French national side that he hasn't got a full cap. David can also play on the right side of defence and has joined us in time to compete for a place in the team for our next game against Fulham."
After a successful start to his England campaign injury and a drop in form meant that he lost his place in the team to Richard Dunne. After recovering he went on loan to Marseille while the unsettled van Buyten went the other way. Despite many City-fans hoping that the loan arrangement was made permanent, van Buyten opted to join Hamburger SV instead, and Sommeil returned to City before the 2004/05 season. Another injury sidelined him during the pre-season which meant he missed most of the team's preparation for the new season.