Daniel Van Buyten came to Manchester City in January 2004, in a deal which saw David Sommeil move in the opposite direction. The Marseille defender was brought in by Kevin Keegan in a loan deal, with a possible permanent deal at the end of the season. City also paid a reported €3 million (£1.7 million) to the French club as part of a deal.
The powerfully built Van Buyten changed hands for €11 million (£7 mill) when he moved to France from Standard Liege in 2001, and in the process he became the most expensive Belgian footballer ever. He was the club's top scorer in the 2002/03 season with eight goals, before falling out of favour with new Marseille coach Jose Anigo. The Belgian was a transfer target of Manchester United last year, but Marseille refused to sell at that point and slapped a €22.5 million price tag on him. Even with both Newcastle and Manchester United interested van Buyten still insists he is happy with his move to Manchester City: "I know that there are two teams in Manchester and that City's fans create the more special atmosphere and are more vocal," he declared.
The 26-year-old, capped 16 times for his country, made his debut in a goalless draw with Birmingham at the City of Manchester stadium. The result was welcome after a run of 12 games without a clean sheet for Kevin Keegan's men and van Buyten is enjoying life after France. "I have had a very hearty welcome here, I didn't feel like I had to adapt to anything," said the defender. "This is a great club with great fans and I quite like the English football. The game goes up and down constantly and the technical level is very high," he told Belgian daily La Derniere Heure.
June 14th 2004: Daniel van Buyten will not be returning to Manchester
City for next season after completing a move from Marseille to Hamburg.
Van Buyten, who spent last season on loan at the City of Manchester Stadium,
has signed a four-year contract with Hamburg after both clubs agreed an