It’s that time of year again …
As we climb towards the end of the twilight zone, which is the period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, the minds of every football fan are preoccupied with their club’s potential January transfer business.
With Pep Guardiola at the helm, Manchester City fans have gotten used to quiet January – only Gabriel Jesus and Aymeric Laporte have arrived halfway through the season during Pep’s time as coach.
Nevertheless, City’s goals remain a major topic of conversation with a busy summer on the horizon. With names like Erling Haaland and Dusan Vlahovic flying around, we thought we would bring things down to earth again by remembering the transfer forks that Guardiola and City’s football director Txiki Begiristain should avoid.
In theory, the conquest of Eliaquim Mangala from Porto in the summer of 2014 should cost £ 40.5m. have been an excellent piece of business by Txiki.
The tall, strong and fast central defender was wanted by a host of top European clubs and looked like the ideal defensive partner for Vincent Kompany.
His debut, a home game against Chelsea in which he bullied Diego Costa for 90 minutes, did nothing but reinforce this perception.
Thereafter, his City career was a train wreck.
Every ounce of football intelligence that the French national team player showed during his debut seemed to leave him as he was regularly found in the absence of more than five years in Manchester.
Following his release from Valencia this summer, the 30-year-old is now without a club.
Defensive midfielder Fernando followed Mangala to City from Porto the same summer, but he did a little better.
Maybe it was an unfair measure, but compared to Prime Fernandinho, he looked slow, heavy and without technical quality.
The two seasons in which he played most for City – 2014/15 and 2015/16 – were synonymous with defensive fragility, something he had to help solve.
However, his career since leaving City in 2017 suggests that his matches at Manchester were a blip. After moving to Galatasaray, the Brazilian joined Sevilla, where he played an integral role in the Spanish team winning the Europa League in 2020.
The panic attack of all panic attacks.
In January 2015, Chelsea were ahead of the Premier League title, so with a roll of the dice, Txiki signed striker Wilfried Bony from Swansea City.
On paper, it should have been spent well over 28 million pounds – the Ivorian was a proven top scorer who could complement Sergio Aguero.
But things did not work out, with Bony scoring just 11 goals in 46 appearances for the Blues.
Txiki must have learned a lot from the failure, as City have not made a last-minute panic attack since.
Like so many of City’s failed signings, Nolito looked pretty good in the beginning.
The Spanish winger brought a diligence and intensity that City’s attack had been lacking for some time, with three goals and two assists in his first five games for Guardiola’s team, which made a good impression.
Still, it quickly became apparent that the £ 16m man. was not of the quality of player that Guardiola wanted, both in terms of technical ability and temperament.
In the second half of the 2016/17 campaign, he barely played before being sent to Sevilla.
Due to the fact that he was the guy to replace City legend Joe Hart, Claudio Bravo always had to face a battle to win over City fans. His performance in 2016/17 did not help at all.
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While Bravo was better with the ball at his feet than Hart – the main reason Guardiola brought him in – it seemed that every shot he faced escaped him. As some said at the time, he was the only goalkeeper in the world who made the goal look bigger.
After Ederson joined in 2017, Bravo was only involved in cup matches, but he managed to earn the City supporters’ love with penalty heroism in the League Cup and Community Shield.
But for his disastrous spell as City’s number one, he must be considered a flop.
Who do you think is the worst signing made during Guardiola’s and Begiristain’s time in City? Follow ours Town Is our author Alex Brotherton on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.