In the 2019-2020 season, Manchester City was the defending champions of the Premier League and had to chase Liverpool throughout the season. At the end of the prolonged season, Liverpool won the league with 18 points more than Manchester City.
Liverpool had it so easy last season because Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City struggled throughout the season with unnecessary mistakes at the back. Those mistakes led the club to lose a whopping 9 Premier League games and conceded 35 goals in 38 league games. Wolves, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Liverpool were among the clubs that beat Manchester City last season which left Pep Guardiola’s team in the second spot.
Fast forward to the 2020-2021 season, Manchester City commenced the Premier League season even worse than the previous season. Though it is just three matches into the new season (one win, one draw, and one loss), yet, the high amount of money Pep Guardiola has spent on players since he started managing Manchester City does not permit him to have such a terrible start.
When fans of “The Citizens” thought City will build on their 1-3 win over Wolves in their Premier League opener on September 21, the club was stunned on September 27 when Leicester City visited the Etihad Stadium for Man City’s second Premier game. Leicester beat Man City 5-2 to spark criticism of Pep Guardiola’s defense which the club has spent over half a billion euros on since 2016.
The criticism got worse on October 3 when Manchester City drew 1-1 with newly-promoted Leeds United which means that Pep Guardiola and his boys have dropped 5 points in three matches which could be very catastrophic for their league season campaign.
As earlier noted, since 2016 when Guardiola took over from Manuel Pellegrini, the club has spent approximately 549.4 million euros on 13 defensive players between 2016 and 2020. This investment made by Abu Dhabi United Group, the owners of the club, has not yielded more than winning two Premier League titles back-to-back (2017/2018 and 2019/2020) and other domestic titles.
The priority of the club which is to win the UEFA Champions League has not been met despite the huge investment which runs over a billion euros between 2016 until date. All Guardiola has been able to do was to take the club to three conservative quarter-final finish at the competition.
The major defensive players Pep Guardiola has signed for Manchester City since 2016.
Portuguese central defender, Ruben Dias is Guardiola’s latest addition to his long list of defensive players. He signed the player from Benfica this summer for about £62 million.
Pep signed an 18-year-old Brazilian right-back, Yan Couto in March 2020 for £5.4 million from Coritiba, and then sent him on loan to Girona in the same year.
Also, Guardiola has signed a 24-year-old Spanish defensive midfielder, Rodri, from Atlético Madrid for £63.4 million this summer just to improve the club’s defensive issues and yet, nothing has changed.
Here are other defenders Pep Guardiola has signed for Manchester City so far:
- Joao Cancelo ( August 2019) £58.5m
- Pedro Porro (August 2019) £10.8m
- Angelino (July 2019) £10.8m
- Philippe Sander ( July 2019) £2.25m
- 2018-19 – One defender signed for £58.8m
- Aymeric Laporte (January 2018) £58.8m
- Benjamin Mendy (July 2017) £51.75m
- Kyle Walker (July 2017) £47.4m
- Danilo (July 2017) £27m
- John Stones (August 2016) £50m
- Oleksandr Zinchenko (July 2016) £1.7m
From the defensive players listed above, it could be seen that Pep Guardiola has spent about 497.8 million British pounds (549.4 million euros) on defensive players alone.
Apart from Defensive issues, Guardiola has issues upfront due to injuries
To make matters worse for Pep Guardiola, the Spanish tactician is without his two senior strikers, Gabriel Jesus, and Sergio Aguero. Jesus is out with a muscle injury and it has not been made known how long it will take the Brazilian forward to fully recover. However, he could be back before the end of October.
On the other hand, Sergio Aguero has been out with a knee injury before the end of the 2019-2020 season. The Argentine iconic striker could return before Manchester City vs Liverpool match on November 7.
Besides those strikers, Aymeric Laporte, Ilkay Gundogan, and Riyad Mahrez just recovered from coronavirus infection. Though Mahrez was cleared to play against Leeds United, at the time of publishing this report, not much has been heard about Laporte and Gundogan’s fitness.
All these woes amidst the heavy amount of money that has been invested in the club have forced Manchester City to remain 11th on the league table. They have been able to accumulate just 4 points out of three Premier League matches so far.