Look around for top flight football managers today and there are just a few high profile names that come to mind. Allegri, Simeone, Conte and Mourinho will no doubt be included in the list, but probably the biggest fish in the pond manage in the premiership at present and unsurprisingly, they are Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp.
Supporters would welcome either to turn around their club’s fortunes and create a side that is both successful and attractive.
I was therefore astonished to learn that a collection of Arsenal fans had taken to social media to accuse Pep Guardiola of being a fraud.
Why ? Because the clubs that he has managed have spent millions to achieve their goals.
What ? Guardiola’s record speaks for itself and in the ever evolving game with fantastic riches at stake, clubs need to secure the best talent money can buy. If we were to use this criticism against any of the top clubs in the world, it simply wouldn’t hold water.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, PSG and Juventus have all invested heavily. At home, Manchester United and Chelsea does the same, as have Manchester City and Liverpool but apparently Pep Guardiola is a fraud for the following suit.
It is of course a non argument by supporters who are knee deep in envy and are completely ignorant of modern football. Guardiola has had success at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City with a list of trophies too long to put in this blog.
Yes, he has spent money, but that’s been repaid to every club that gave him access to their cheque book. The figures are astronomical but he delivers, even if Pep Guardiola has spent 1.307.9 billion euros in 11 seasons refurbishing and reinventing Europe’s elite sides.
One would assume that he is partial to pumping cash into attack because Guardiola’s sides play beautiful attacking football but he also believes in defence, having lavished 513.1 million euros on defenders.
However, there are other fans that claim his success is down to a host of inherited players which he had no hand in securing. They refer to Barcelona’s clutch of stars such as Henry, Eto’o, Messi, Puyol, Xavi, Valdes and Toure and at Bayern, they mention Ribbery, Kroos, Muller, Robben, Neuer, Lahm, Schweinsteiger and Mandzukic.
However, the argument runs out of steam when it comes to Manchester City, whom he dismantled over three or more seasons, turning them from rams into Premier League Champions.
Arsenal fans wouldn’t exactly turn down the offer to spend the sums City have. Infact, Arsenal fans are always looking for marquee signings such as Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe.
The Gunners will need to spend slightly more over the next two or three seasons and the final figure of that spend could be around £250-£300m. The summer cost them £138m but was offset by sales which reduced the sum to a reasonable £118.5m, but they need more quality and inventiveness. Upamecano could cost £52m, Ceballos £30m and no doubt arsenal will be linked with Zaha who is likely to cost nearly £70m.
There is an argument against spending fortunes and it’s expertly made by Wolves, who are an extremely good and exciting side but it can also be made by Manchester United, who wasted millions on very average players, which is why they are suffering now.
£840m has left the Glazers bank account since Ferguson called it a day, but they aren’t the only ones who spent heavily without getting value for money. Arsenal during the Wenger years acquired a handful of turkeys and not just for Christmas.
Remember Gervinho, Jeffers, Luzhny, Squillaci, Santos, Cygan, Senderos, Denilson, Silvestre, (Richard) Wright, Suker and Maltz, for every superstar the Frenchman discovered, he found another with two left feet.
Pep Guardiola rarely fluffs his transfer lines and regardless of the criticism, he is an absolute winner and that’s what separates him from the Sam Allardyce’s of this world.