Big-spending Guardiola leads chase of Chelsea

Ruben Hill
August 12, 2017

"The big fail now takes one week in football!" He had been here before; in 2012, he had announced his decision to step down from Barcelona and hand over the reins to his assistant Tito Vilanova. Nope. Not under Arsene Wenger. His decision to leave Barcelona stirred the pot of speculation that was his next destination. Needless to say, this is a big year and it's important for Manchester City to kick off their season on the right foot. Bravo stopped just 72% of shots last season, and that won't be good enough again.

With a reported release clause of €200m, however, Manchester City may struggle to prize the experienced midfielder away from the Nou Camp. Notably, the club said that the negotiations with Guardiola were "a recommencement of discussions that were curtailed in 2012", no doubt a nod to their excessive fluttering of eyelashes in Guardiola's direction.

Walker made the move from London to Manchester this summer, going from Spurs to City as part of Pep Guardiola's bid to rejuvenate the Sky Blues' defense. They finished last season with a bit of a damp squib.

On the other hand, Guardiola's troops hit the ground running with six straight swashbuckling victories in the league. If not, the Spaniard could come under fire from City fans. City wouldn't occupy the top spot of the table after the 10 matchday. In the 34 years since we have experienced highs and very many lows.

The Spanish youngster's first-team fate will depend upon whether City manage to sign another forward this summer, as they are still pushing to sign Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez and Monaco's Kylian Mbappe. It was the first time he's failed to reach the CL semifinal.

The Israeli global could be out for the first 12 weeks of the new season. With more playing time likely coming his way this season, his total should grow this year. Last year, Joe Hart was shipped out to Torino after he didn't fit the mould of the "sweeper keeper" that he favours.

Full-backs were going to be another area of reinforcement with all the four moving on from the club.

City also have John Stones and Eliaquim Mangala on their books, giving them four of the most expensive defenders ever, but with total spending in the league having exceeded £900 million, Guardiola is unrepentant.

Fortunately, City have more riches in midfield and attack. But the solution is not changing players every season. Perhaps he might be able to reclaim form with positional consistency.

A lack of significant transfer activity this summer and the smallest budget in the Premier League has made Huddersfield odds on favorites for the drop at 4-5. Guardiola also rued the absence of Ilkay Gundogan due to injury but his record with it hasn't been exactly a surprise until now. It wasn't a position that City where particularly short and the former Monaco player is set to be competition for David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne.

"There is still 20 days left and there will be more transfers", Pep told the press at the CFA. As City have come to realise in the past few seasons, an outlay like that attracts a great deal of attention and a great deal of expectation. "I like them as a club and I like Slaven Bilic so they will do better than they did last season". That is of course, provided, they don't buckle in the big matches in December, and around the Round-of-16 and quarter finals ties of the UCL. We're not disappointed with losses because we expect them, even though we're always the favorites.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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