Pep Guardiola’s tenure in the Premier League has largely been a success story so far, even though there has been room for recent debate in the media.
The Man City boss is often dubbed as one of the greatest managers of all time, but taking over what was mostly an ageing City unit in the summer of 2016 meant that his first season in England saw him finish third in the league – 15 points behind winners Chelsea.
As a result, City did justice to their reputation by splashing the big bucks to get their reinforcements. City went on a record-breaking spree soon after, as they emerged as winners of the next two seasons of the Premier League – including a season where they broke the record for most points scored in PL history.
Buying the league
While his dominant success is unprecedented and undisputed, any debate considering Guardiola’s City spell often ends up pointing at the amount of money that has been spent to get him his choice of players.
City are often accused of “buying the league”, as their abundance of talent in their star-studded squad at the moment gives them the advantage in almost every game they play whether in the league or in Europe – as was shown in today’s league encounter against West Ham when City fielded a bench of substitute players with a combined worth of just over £350m.
The nine-man bench consisted of international footballers such as Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy and Joao Cancelo – all very capable of being first choice for most other teams in the division.
Manchester City’s subs bench today is worth just under $500 million:— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 27, 2021
Peter Drury branded the bench as “ridiculous” and “hilarious” on match commentary as Man City were bailed out by their central defenders on the day, but a debate was sparked online to determine Guardiola’s credentials – whether he could replicate his magic at a club with limited funds.
Serious question when you judge Pep Guardiola’s credentials – could he have won the title with Arsenal for example? Like it or not whatever you think of Pep money has been a huge factor in his success. Sorry. Not sorry.— Annemarie Dray🖤⚽️ (@Anna__Dray) February 27, 2021
Guardiola recently stirred up the talks himself when he spoke of City’s incredible resources being the reason for their success, and even confirmed in his pre-West Ham press conference that his comments were not sarcastic – he feels like success in the long term can only be achieved through reinforcement of quality.
🗣”You can win 1 title with average players, but to win a lot of titles you need top top top top players and they cost money”— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 26, 2021
Pep Guardiola responds to his comments saying Manchester City’s success is down to having money pic.twitter.com/oIfK9vTXyF
While one can win a single title with a set of average players, one needs a top standard of players to stay at the summit and continue the dominance – and to get the top players in the market, one does need to break the bank.
Spending money right
While Guardiola was right in his narrative, he did receive a lot of flak for the club’s transfer activity and a City fan came to his defence on Twitter by pointing out that even though City have spent their fair share of money – they have mostly spent it right.
The fan’s argument stated that the cost of City’s starting eleven when fully fit is roughly around £400m, which is lesser than rivals Man Utd’s £500m and Chelsea’s £410m – and only £15m more than that of Liverpool.
Cost of starting 11’s when fully fit:— ¹⁰ (@SxrgioSZN) February 26, 2021
Man City : £400m
Manchester United : £500m
Chelsea : £410m
I know Liverpool’s is £15m cheaper but guess which team has won the most PL titles this decade. Difference between buying the league and spending money right👍
Guardiola has mostly been spot on with all his big-money signings and has the success to show for it, but he would blame the narrative for the general consensus going against him.
City’s achievements often do not get their due respect even after their recent years of dominance in the league – as compared to the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson’s treble-winning United team, Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles, Leicester’s miraculous title win and Klopp’s domestic and European success with Liverpool – all of whom are deemed to be bigger achievements.