A five-year contract for Guardiola, who Manchester City snatched from Leipzig for €90m. The Croatian has thus become the most expensive defender in history, surpassing the €87m spent by the Mancunian rival for Harry Maguire in 2019. An exorbitant amount, but not so surprising when you look at the expenses a little more citizens During the last transfer window period, especially since Pep Guardiola has been at the helm of the ship.
Indeed, since the Spanish technician’s arrival at the club in 2016, Manchester City have made the defensive zone their preferred hunting ground during the transfer period. Seven of the club’s fifteen most expensive recruits since the summer of 2016 (before Guardiol’s arrival) are defenders. All of them cost more than €40m, with Portugal’s Ruben Dias being top-priced at €71m (according to Transfermarkt).
A total of nine Manchester City players are in the top 30 most expensive defenders in history, more than twice as many as any other club. It should be noted that this expensive recruitment policy began shortly before Guardiola’s arrival with the transfers of Eliaquim Mangala (August 2014) and Nicolas Otamendi (August 2015) for €45M and €44.50M respectively.
With Croatia, Guardiol reached the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. (N. Lutieau/The Team)
Expenses of this caliber inevitably lead to high expectations. If skyblues Having won five of the last seven championships, it was a long wait before winning the Champions League. As a result, the defensive zone regularly finds itself the target of critics, while the absence of a genuine number 9 or Guardiola’s questionable tactical choices have taken a back seat.
The club’s third most expensive signing before the transfer from Guardiol. reuben dias Upon his arrival in 2020, he quickly established himself as the Guardian of Citizens Defense. Premier League Player of the Year, UEFA Best Defender of the Year and Ballon d’Or nominee, his first season was a truly successful one. “We signed an incredible player for the next 5, 6 or 7 years. We are lucky to have him, it is not easy to find a player like him nowadays., Guardiola said. Less prominent in 2021-2022, he regained some teeth the following season and was one of the great architects of City’s cup-championship-Champions League treble.
Ruben Dias: €71.60 million – 133 appearances in three seasons – 4 goals
Ruben Dias comes from the Benfica Lisbon academy. (F. Fougere/The Team)
By his side, Nathan AK And John Stones has also been active in the pursuit of the Champions League. The first, arrived in 2020, strayed between the pivot and the left lane, didn’t make it through. without specifically shedding light on it, it remains ” Original “ in the eyes of his coach.
Arrived in August 2016, John Stones Has struggled for a long time to find regularity in his performances, especially due to a number of injuries. The previous season was marked by his repositioning in Guardiola’s scheme into a hybrid position of semi-guard, semi-central defender at the front of the defence, which he surprisingly supported. “The manager puts me in this position because he sees what I can do. I watch a lot of footage after games and am always looking to improve. , A mentality that perfectly suits the Spaniard’s principles.
Nathan Ake: 45.30 M€ – 81 matches played in three seasons – 7 goals
John Stones €55.60 million – 229 appearances in seven seasons – 15 goals
Nathan Ake and John Stones (right) made a winning start in the 2023 Champions League Final against Inter Milan. (F. Fougere/The Team)
on the right wing, kyle walker Under Guardiola, his position has become a reference. To such an extent that today he is regarded as one of the best full-backs in the history of the Premier League. His speed allows him to block most attackers who enjoy wide open spaces. If only the last two seasons were a little less intense than the one he made in his jersey debut citizens, Walker remains an essential element of the collective. So much so that when Guardiola was sent off to Bayern Munich this summer because of a rumor he reacted: “He is a very important player for us. Losing him will be difficult, we will do everything to keep him. »
Kyle Walker: 52.70 M€ – 254 appearances in six seasons – 6 goals
Between 2020 and 2022, joao cancelo There was no doubt that he was one of the best full-backs in the world. Both on the left and on the right, the Portuguese impressed with his pace and his attacking qualities. Only, with Manchester City the story stalled somewhat. A strained relationship with Guardiola prompted him to leave the club last winter to join Bayern on loan. if his coach recognizes him “More than an extraordinary player”Cancelo, who returned to Manchester at the end of the season, could pack his bags this summer.
João Cancelo: €65 million – 154 appearances in three and a half seasons – 9 goals
Guardiola and Cancelo in full exchange. (A. Mounik/The Team)
Labeled the second most expensive defender in the world after Virgil van Dijk, he arrived at Manchester City in January 2018. Aymeric Laporte At first showed the full extent of his defensive qualities, ending the 2018–2019 season as the third most used player by Guardiola. But a groin injury in August 2019 slowed him down. From 2020–2021, the Dias-Stones hinge is gone and Laporte has become more of a rotational element. “You have to be on top of your game and keep an open mind. He is our best left-handed defender, he has special qualities with the ball. You have to be focused to come back in the best conditions and have time to play.Guardiola said in November 2020. At Manchester City, places in the starting 11 are expensive.
Aymeric Laporte: €65 million – 179 appearances in five and a half seasons – 12 goals
seven short Premier League games in his first season (2017/2018), ten in the following season, injuries did not allow him benjamin mendy To adapt quickly to the demands of the English Championship. The 2019–20 financial year was arguably their most successful, but it also coincided with City losing the title to Liverpool. His legal matters have denied him any meetings after August 15, 2021.
Benjamin Mendy: €57.50 million – 76 appearances in four seasons and two goals – 2 goals
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