Pep Guardiola didn’t take kindly to finishing the 2016/17 campaign trophyless with Manchester City.
It was the first season of his professional career where he did not land a single piece of silverware.
Following the end of the campaign, Pep Guardiola and Manchester City wasted no time to delve into the transfer market, purchasing Ligue 1-winner Bernardo Silva for £43 million from AS Monaco and Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson from Benfica for £34.9 million on the opening day of the summer window.
Manchester City continued their investment by addressing an area of the squad with significant deficiencies: the full-back positions.
The club hadn’t spent a single penny on left or right sided defenders since 2012, when they signed Maicon for a paltry £5 million, whilst their last addition to either defensive flank was Bacary Sagna, who joined on a free transfer in 2014.
Negligence on behalf of the club allowed them to get to the point where a splurge on full-backs was inevitable, and the departures of Bacary Sagna, Aleksandar Kolarov and Gael Clichy were the catalysts for three quality (and expensive) replacements.
Tottenham’s Kyle Walker came first in an eye-catching £45 million transfer, followed by Champions League-winner Danilo from Real Madrid for £26.5 million.
Manchester City returned to France for their next acquisition, Benjamin Mendy, who joined from AS Monaco for a world-record fee for a defender: £49.3 million.
The Sky Blues spared a thought for the future with an additional £20 million on various youth signings, including Vasco da Gama’s Douglas Luiz, who will spend the season on loan at Girona FC.
That brings Manchester City’s total summer spending spree to a whopping £220 million – a figure which you can be sure to hear more of if Pep Guardiola is unable to secure silverware for the club at the second time of asking.
Ranking – B+
Despite a summer spree that most would be quick to summarise as excessive, Pep Guardiola addressed a severe weakness in the squad (full-backs) and has turned it into one of the many strengths of his side.
In Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker and Danilo, Manchester City have everything: crossing, pace, versatility and adept defensive abilities – qualities that the home faithful saw in floundering flashes with their previous three 30+ full-backs.
Ederson’s addition already looks an improvement on the out-of-form-and-favour Claudio Bravo, who became a back-up to 34-year-old Willy Caballero for huge chunks of last season, while Bernardo Silva has shown some glimpses of his dribbling wizardry in scattered appearances thus far.
Overall, a successful window for Manchester City. Their squad suddenly appears far more complete than the one who started the 2016/17 season; Gabriel Jesus was still on loan at Palmeiras last year, while Ilkay Gundogan’s return from injury will feel like a new signing – the German hasn’t played for the club since December last year.
However, an A-grade seems a stretch too far considering the hasty and near-profligate approach to securing full-backs, though this is no fault of Pep Guardiola. He has done everything necessary to prepare a team to challenge on all fronts. Conversely, failure to land a trophy in any of those competitions will not only put his job in question, but his career credentials.