Pep Guardiola has been put under the spotlight in recent days.
Fresh from turning heads with his accusation that everyone supports Liverpool over the weekend, the Manchester City boss is clearly getting the impression that everyone is against their club.
And one of the biggest reasons that City’s detractors turn their nose up at any success they might enjoy is because of the circumstances in which they’ve been able to achieve it.
Man City’s huge spending
The Citizens were catapulted from mid-table Premier League finishes to the joint-second-most titles in the competition’s history on the back of Sheikh Mansour’s takeover in 2008.
As such, there are more than a few supporters, as well as key figures in the game, who pooh-pooh City’s triumphs in light of the fact that it’s been built upon such extravagant transfer spending.
And that entire narrative was always going to be dredged up again when City completed a game-changing move for Erling Haaland this week, albeit for a relatively cheap transfer fee in the grand scheme of things.
Guardiola on Man City’s money
Nevertheless, regardless of whether Haaland was arriving for €60 million or €600 million, there was a sense of inevitability that came with Guardiola once again having to discuss the whole money angle.
It is, after all, an important debate at the heart of which is the very question of how the beautiful game should be run.
But the City coach was quick to compare the spending of his current club to the great Liverpool teams of the 1970s and 1980s as well as Sir Alex Ferguson’s legendary Manchester United sides.
In other words, Guardiola gave the impression that he didn’t believe what City are doing is any different to what has been done previously, just in different eras and financial climates.
Comparison to Man Utd and Liverpool
According to the Manchester Evening News, Guardiola mused to Sky Sports: “For the people, it’s just money. If you want to think about that, think about that.
“But I know exactly we are working here and I said okay don’t give me credit, don’t give us credit, but let us give ourselves credit and as a manager give to my players, to my staff.
“Listen when Liverpool in the 70s or 80s or United, who spent more money? It was Norwich? Norwich spend more money in that period? Or Leicester spend more money on them? No, they spend more money than the other ones but the money for them is completely different from now.
🗣 "The money for them is completely different."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 11, 2022
Pep Guardiola compares the perception of Manchester City spending money to Liverpool and Man United pic.twitter.com/3dXWm0I5Pf
“I am going to change it. When we put Etihad here [front of shirt] ‘aw it’s overpaid.’ But now United and Liverpool or whoever is going to pay maybe more maybe they deserve it because they’re working well, because the CEO negotiates well, whatever happens, then more because it’s for United States of America or another country the owners are so now it’s perfect.
“That’s why we’re going to change but for a long time it’s not going to change, that is the reality. Only way we can change is doing well on the pitch.”
Does Guardiola have a point?
Would we look differently at the spending of Liverpool and United sides of the past if inflation never changed and transfer fees remained constant? It’s certainly an interesting thought.
After all, lest we forget that Ferguson secured Rio Ferdinand’s services courtesy of a world-record fee for a defender having previous broken the British record to snap up Andy Cole and Juan Sebastian Veron.
Obviously, the context behind the spending is completely different, but it’s certainly food for thought when you consider how inflation has, in a way, trivialised major transfer fees of the past.
However, no matter where you stand on the wider debate surrounding City’s spending, the reality of the situation is that it doesn’t look close to stopping any time soon with Haaland proving the latest superstar to walk through the door.