The popular argument in favour of Guardiola, especially in comparison to Manchester United, is that City are successful because of their financial backing.
While that’s a big factor, Guardiola needed to pick the right players for the system he attempted to implement. From there, it’s all about managerial expertise and having trust in your first-team squad.
As you can tell by the following statistics, Manchester United haven’t had quite as much luck since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club in 2013.
How does Guardiola compare to Man United managers?
As per Transfermarkt, Pep Guardiola has spent an average of £158.9 million per season (including the current season) since taking charge at the Etihad in 2016.
In contrast, three of United’s post-Fergie managers spent the following amounts per season: £69.4m (Moyes), £158.1m (van Gaal), £139.8m (Mourinho). Solskjaer, meanwhile, has spent £137.5m per season (including the current campaign).
Guardiola has won eight trophies in five seasons as City manager. Between van Gaal, Mourinho, Moyes and Solskjaer, United have won three – with the latter two coming up empty-handed.
Which signings have been successful for City and United?
Manchester City fans could easily argue that Gundogan, Zinchenko, Stones, Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Mahrez, Rodri, Cancelo, and Dias have all been success stories. In addition to that, Guardiola was also responsible for helping to bring academy graduate Phil Foden into the mix.
By comparison, United have had a “swing and miss” record more often than not. Wan-Bissaka, Mata, Maguire and Shaw have all had their moments. However, when the three biggest impact signings have been veterans like Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic and Cavani, you know there are some issues at play.
Where have Man United gone wrong compared to Guardiola?
‘The objective is to move the opponent, not the ball.’ – Pep Guardiola— Matt Gordon (@mattyflash23) November 8, 2021
While the state of play in English football has changed, the finer transfer details haven’t. The simple fact is that Manchester United have regularly gone for name value ahead of untapped potential, and it continues to come back to bite them. Alex Ferguson sometimes got grief for additions labelled “flops”. Nine times out of ten, though, he’d get the very best out of everyone who played under him.
Solskjaer, more so than the other three managers on the graphic, has been loose with transfer funds. Nobody has been able to carve out a consistent system that works for this club. It may be because they’re overthinking it.
Pep Guardiola, plain and simple, is playing this chess match better than anyone in the sport. Instead of blindly walking into another purchase, he does his research and figures out how to get the best out of any given player. Whether it’s through changing their position or highlighting their strengths in small doses, the guy gets it.
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