Pep Guardiola is arguably the best football manager we have seen during this generation. His tiki-taka and high pressing style set a trend of teams implementing a more passing style of football.
Pep Guardiola's players also seemingly brings out their best for the national team in the league where Guardiola manages in. Spain (2010) and Germany (2014) won the FIFA World Cup while Pep Guardiola was in charge of FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively.
After Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City, England reached the semifinals of the 2019 FIFA World Cup, with Raheem Sterling, John Stones and Fabian Delph all playing a key role. During his managerial career Pep Guardiola has spent significant chunks of money on players, especially at City.
Today, we look back at the five best signings by Pep Guardiola during the last ten years of his managerial career.
Five best Pep Guardiola signings in the last decade
5: Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski may have played just two seasons under Pep Guardiola but he made 100 appearances after moving to Bayern Munich on a free transfer from Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Although he was not seen as Pep Guardiola's type of striker, Lewandowski thrived under the Spaniard's tutelage and scored 67 goals in all competitions.
Lewandowski and Pep Guardiola won everything in domestic football during their time together while losing in the semifinals of the Champions League in consecutive seasons.
4: Leroy Sane
Before Leroy Sane's relationship with Pep Guardiola went sour, he was a crucial component of Manchester City's three-pronged attack, besides Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero. The pacy winger is a nightmare for defenders on the left-wing as he stretches the play wide before finding Aguero or Sterling with a cut-back.
Sane has joined Bayern Munich after a protracted transfer saga that played out for almost a year. He has sat out almost the entirety of the 2019-20 season due to a knee injury sustained in the Community Shield and has played only 24 minutes in his two appearances.
Pep Guardiola, who had bought Leroy Sane for a £37 million transfer fee, will be happy that the club has at least recouped all of its investment. Leroy Sane scored 39 goals and provided 45 assists in his 135 appearances under the Spaniard.
3: Thiago Alcantara
'Thiago oder Nichts' was Pep Guardiola's demand when Thiago Alcantara first arrived at Bayern Munich after a year-long sabbatical from football. Alcantara would go on to become the heartbeat of Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich side, having also played under the Spanish manager while at Barcelona
While Thiago Alcantara often found himself on the treatment table rather than on the pitch, he still won three Bundesliga titles. The midfield entertainer would go on to make 80 appearances under Pep Guardiola during their time together in Munich. Thiago Alcantara contributed nine goals and 14 assists during that time.
2: Aymeric Laporte
Aymeric Laporte's injury changed everything for Manchester City when looking back in retrospect at this season. Laporte's presence would have surely meant Liverpool would have been pushed harder this season in their pursuit of their 30-year league title drought.
Laporte's arrival for £57 million from Athletic Bilbao transformed City at the back as they became more dominant. The Frenchman exuded composure and class and made Stones and Otamendi look like much better players when they played alongside him.
What underlines Aymeric Laporte's importance to Pep Guardiola and Manchester City is the points per game City have earned when the Frenchman has been on the pitch. Laporte has never dipped below 2.54 points per game in his 55 Premier League appearances, which sounds absurd, to say the least.
1: Ederson Moraes
Pep Guardiola's tactics demand so much from a player, both on and off the ball, that it applies to everyone on the pitch, including the goalkeeper. Pep Guardiola jettisoned fan-favourite Joe Hart immediately after he arrived at Manchester City and brought in Claudio Bravo as a replacement.
However, Pep Guardiola would have to wait for a while to find a sweeper-keeper, Ederson Moraes, who could play in the Premier League with some consistency. In his three seasons at Manchester City, Ederson has made an impressive 135 appearances in all competitions, 25 of them being in the Champions League.
His arrival for a then world-record of £ 35 million from Benfica turned out to be a game-changer as Manchester City would go on to claim back-to-back Premier League titles. While Ederson has been left exposed and has made mistakes at times this season, hia importance to Pep Guardiola and Manchester City cannot be underestimated.
Honourable Mentions: Bernardo Silva, Joshua Kimmich, Kyle Walker, Kingsley Coman.Published 05 Jul 2020, 20:02 IST