This is also the eloquent message for the unparalleled resources that Guardiola inherited at Etihad. Summer 2018, Man City broke the club’s transfer record when recruiting Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City for $ 79 million. But Mahrez sat down for most of the season, only kicking 14 times in the Premier League.
This summer, Man City spent $ 72 million on young Spanish midfielder Rodri. They then turned Joao Cancelo into the most high profile defender in history with $ 70 million (this number was removed after Man City sold Danilo back to Juventus). In total, Man City spent $ 250 million only for a full-back position within three years. And at the first match – against West Ham, Kyle Walker played like he wanted to remind Cancelo “don’t dream of taking his place”.
That’s how Guardiola created a positive competitive atmosphere in Man City. No one is irreplaceable. Look at Leroy Sane, the German striker who was very eager to join Bayern Munich before suffering a knee injury against West Ham. Superior talent, but last season Sane almost only prepared. So that Bayern knocked on the door, Man City gently replied: “160 million USD”, and did not accept bargaining. They are not short of money, and Guardiola knows what a player needs most: get on the pitch regularly.
Guardiola and Man City are being criticized, that they are too rich and their success is based on purchasing power on the transfer floor. One of the main critics is Jurgen Klopp. Guardiola immediately responded to fellow Liverpool side. The City’s chairman pointed out: the contracts brought back to Etihad are indelible to Guardiola’s extraordinary achievements, because Man Utd pointed out: money is not a panacea.
Last season, Liverpool showed remarkable courage to race against Man City until the final round. That competition created an illusion: City’s wealth did not create a significant advantage. But it is possible that this 2019-2020 season will expose that illusion.