Pep Guardiola has spent big in an attempt to get back to winning ways with Manchester City after last season's disappointment.

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The summer may be remembered by City's hierarchy and their fans for the transfer window that they could not seal a deal for Barcelona's Lionel Messi, who ultimately decided to stay with the Catalans.

Had he arrived then their chances of winning the Champions League would have soared, and Guardiola will one day have to prove that he can win Europe's premier tournament without the Argentine at his disposal.

Transfers in

  • Nathan Ake (Bournemouth, £45.3m)
  • Ferran Torres (Valencia, £23m)

Ake should be able to put in more reliable performances than Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones in central defence, with Aymeric Laporte now the leader in central defence. Torres could prove a bargain with the attacking wide player one of Spain's best young talents. Valencia's money troubles allowed him to move on the cheap.

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Transfers out

  • Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich, £45m)
  • David Silva (Real Sociedad, free transfer)

Both Silva and Sane were exits long anticipated. And even if City had hoped to keep hold of the German winger he had his sights sent on the European champions. Phil Foden is expected to compete with Ferran Torres for the position left open by Silva's exit.

Possible further moves

Any Messi deal now looks set to happen at the end of next season, so the club can turn their attention to Kalidou Koulibaly. He could cost around £70 million, and at 29 he is being bought for the here and now. That might suggest that Guardiola is less interested in developing a team for the future and keen to get back to winning ways.

He has been linked with a move back to Barcelona to follow his family, so any other transfers could be used as an indication over whether he is planning for a longer stay. Given the vast financial backing he has received over the last few years it is hard to see City's spending winding down after essentially winning their Financial Fair Play case.

Any other changes?

Manchester City's Pep Guardiola in action during training at Manchester City Football Academy on May 25, 2020 in Manchester

Image credit: Getty Images

The changes at Manchester City are not yet clear. Guardiola can spend tens of hours on just the preparation for a single match, so he may have put months of lockdown into new ideas. The depth of understanding that he brings to the technical side of the game is exhaustive. The transfers made so far do not hint at a radical overhaul of his approach. One player has left and been replaced. The weak backline has been reinforced.

Identifying a change in the team, if there is a serious one, will come after a handful of games into the season when we can spot if any players are being used in unfamiliar ways, or if Guardiola has alighted on a shift in formation to exploit new areas of space.


The key question here is whether City can summon up the spirit in the way no other Guardiola side has. He has never reinvigorated a side after losing his pre-eminence. At Barcelona he took a sabbatical once bested by Jose Mourinho, and at Bayern he simply didn't let go of the Bundesliga.

If City don't challenge for the title again, then winning the Champions League would probably be an even greater achievement, but this City appear to have come to the end of their cycle.

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