Pep Guardiola's £400m defensive signings at Man City ranked after 5-2 Leicester loss


Manchester City were dealt a gargantuan setback in their quest to regain the Premier League title on Sunday.

It looked like normal service resumed for the Citizens when they took the lead against Leicester City in the opening 10 minutes courtesy of an absolute screamer from Riyad Mahrez.

However, what happened from that moment onwards transpired into one of the most embarrassing 90 minutes in Pep Guardiola's entire career as City crashed to a 5-2 defeat.

Man City 2-5 Leicester

Nathan Ake grabbed a mere consolation strike for the home side as Jamie Vardy helped himself to a hat-trick, James Maddison scored a screamer and Youri Tielemans rounded off the win.

Three of the five goals came from 12 yards with Kyle Walker, Eric Garcia and Benjamin Mendy all prompting the referee to point to the penalty spot after making clumsy tackles.

Conceding three penalties and five goals at home is a pretty terrible look for supposed title challengers and rival fans were keen to point out an unfortunate fact about City's defence.


Nearing £400m on defenders

That's because the Citizen's defensive woes come in spite of the fact Guardiola is now on the verge of having spent over £400 million on his back four since arriving at the Etihad Stadium.

Benfica confirmed on Sunday night that City have agreed a massive £65-million deal to sign Ruben Dias, pushing their spending to within one or two signings of £0.5 billion. Yeh, seriously.

So, with City's defensive spending proving incongruous to their strength at the back, we decided to interrogate who Guardiola has signed for his back-line since inheriting the reins in 2016.

Using the medium of tiermaker, we've placed the 11 purchases in tiers ranging from 'world-class' to 'waste of money' with 'pretty decent', 'bang average', 'time will tell..' and 'overpriced' in between.


Ranking Man City's defensive signings

If that sounds like more players will be slated than rated, then you're bang on the money, so check out our selections down below to see City's defensive spending in all its infamy.

Waste of money


Joao Cancelo

Credit to Danilo for playing 23 games in the greatest Premier League side of all time, but was £26.5 million really well spent on a back-up option who was outperformed by Fabian Delph? Not for me.

As for a deal worth £60 million on a full-back who has barely established himself in the City side, I think we can all agree that forking out on Cancelo was poor spending and downright overkill at its finest.



John Stones

Nathan Ake

I know we live in an incredibly inflated transfer market, but if we're going off performances, then I don't think you can justify £47.5 million being spent on Stones after four seasons of blowing hot and cold.

As for Ake, I might be jumping the gun, but this looks like another ham-fisted deal surpassing £40 million having just been relegated with Bournemouth and failing to convince Antoine Conte at Chelsea.


Time will tell...

Ruben Dias

Philippe Sandler

The alarm bells of deja vu are already ringing in my head with Dias commanding a Virgil van Dijk-esque fee, but we can't put the cart before the horse and there's no doubt that the Portuguese is a top defender.

In terms of Sandler, the jury has to remain out on the 23-year-old having only made two senior appearances for the Citizens, although it will be an admittedly uphill battle to claw his way into the starting XI.


Bang average

Benjamin Mendy


Is Mendy only a 'bang average' player? Of course not, but the middle tier felt about right for a player who produces a cross from the heavens one minute, only to get injured and concede a penalty the next.

Meanwhile, Angelino winds up roundabout where you'd expect for a player commanding a seven-figure transfer fee and has neither flopped back in the Premier League nor set the world alright.


Pretty decent

Kyle Walker

Oleksandr Zinchenko

Kick off as much as you like about Zinchenko finishing this highly, but 68 outings across three campaigns that reaped eight major honours is good going for a 23-year-old who was bought for just £1.7 million.

Then there's Walker who, despite having his fair share of wobbles in a City shirt, has justified his hefty transfer fee better than most and has almost 150 appearances under his belt as a Guardiola player.



Aymeric Laporte

But all alone in the top tier is Laporte. The ex-Athletic Bilbao man is probably the only defender that City have spent big on that has truly warranted the crater it left in Sheikh Mansour's wallet.

Sure, Laporte isn't immune from errors just like his colleagues, but still served as the rock behind two Premier League-winning campaigns and duly bagged himself a place in the 2018/19 PFA Team of the Year.


Full graphic


GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

The key thing here for me are the fees.

I know we live in a world where James Tarkowski is valued at more than £30 million, but you'd be forgiven for thinking that City are going round in circles forking out big fees for defenders.

One season it's Mendy, the next season it's Cancelo, then maybe Ake will solve the problem and round and round and round we go without any indication that they've learnt from their expensive errors.


Regardless of how inflated the market is, I can't bring myself to say that Stones, while undoubtedly a talented defender, has justified one of the heftiest fees spent on a centre-back.

The fact that Angelino and Zinchenko find themselves placing decent in this tier list should show to the City board that unless you're signing guaranteed world-class talent, you simply must be shrewder. 

Kalidou Koulibaly would be one of those expensive exceptions as a foil to Laporte but otherwise, alternative methods must be used to ensure City's defence isn't as leaky as the wallet that bought it.

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