Manchester City had to make a decision in the summer. Following a season in which Claudio Bravo's decline steepened, the Citizens had to decide whether to spend €40 million on Ederson. Things hadn't worked out as planned with the Chilean keeper, and the club had to be careful about making the same mistake twice, particularly if paying a British-record transfer fee for a shot-stopper.
In the end, City rolled the dice on Ederson, and it's a decision that's proving to be worth every penny.
Ederson's defining characteristics were on display as City conquered Stamford Bridge on Saturday, beating Chelsea 1-0 in the Premier League. The Brazilian goalkeeper, who is one decade younger than Bravo, was physically imposing and commanded the penalty area, parrying shots and picking crosses. He showed the type of composure that he's been known to show in high-pressure games, never looking troubled by the Blues' forwards. Quick off his line and using his chest to control the ball, he justified the comparisons to Manuel Neuer.
In the 17th minute, there was a moment where Ederson, so confident with the ball at his feet, found himself higher up the pitch than some of City's defenders.
Ederson is a perfect fit for City's attack. As Tim Vickery wrote for World Soccer, the portero "can give the ball a tremendous thump - a handy option to deter the opposition's high press" that allows the Citizens to build their moves from the back. He also inspires confidence in the club's defence, of which there was a shortage last season. Suggestions that his lack of English would be a problem are gone. Communication isn't a worry, and he's working hard to learn as much of the language as he can.
"It's all about this group of players," Ederson said on Wednesday. "Our team has been working very well, both offensively and defensively. Every player has been helping me a lot daily, which also helps me adapt and it makes me really happy. I hope to carry on with as many clean sheets as possible. Obviously, communication is key. In some games, I speak a little bit in Spanish with Nico (Nicolas Otamendi), but I've learned a bit of English and that has helped me a lot, too."
A number of City's results this season can be largely attributed to Ederson. For example, his bravery resulted in a red card for Sadio Mane, paving the way for the Citizens' 5-0 demolition of Liverpool. It came at a cost - a kick to the face that reportedly needed eight stitches - but it was a small price to pay for three points.
City's victory at Chelsea marked Ederson's sixth successive clean sheet in all competitions, and, with the international break on the horizon and a succession of four games at the Etihad Stadium, it could be a long time before he allows himself to be beaten again. He's the backbone of the Citizens' resurgence. In retrospect, there was no need to ask if Ederson was worthy of a British-record fee for a keeper.