Pep Guardiola and defenders. It’s been an expensive exercise for Manchester City.
Still trying to fill the glaring void left by long-serving captain Vincent Kompany in 2019, and reeling after a stunning 5-2 Premier League drubbing at the hands of Leicester City, Manchester City have turned to Ruben Dias.
Benfica and Portugal centre-back Dias will cost City an initial £62million (€68m), plus £2.1m (€3.6m) in add-ons should the 23-year-old trigger various performance-related clauses.
Sunday’s announcement, with Nicolas Otamendi set to move in the opposite direction, takes Guardiola’s spending as City manager on defenders to in excess of £410m (€451m) since 2016.
1 – For the first time in 686 games as a manager, Pep Guardiola has seen his side concede five goals. It is also the first time in 438 games at the Etihad Stadium that Manchester City have shipped five goals in any competition. Famous. #MCILEI https://t.co/M3edianY1v
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 27, 2020
While City have won two Premier League titles under Guardiola, the team’s defence remains an Achilles heel, especially in pursuit of European glory.
As City welcome Dias to Manchester, we look at Guardiola’s previous defender signings while in the Citizens dugout.
Ruben Dias €68m (£62m)
He is Guardiola’s latest big-money defensive signing. Previously linked to the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham, Dias arrives having emerged from Benfica’s academy ahead of the 2017-18 season. He helped Benfica to Primeira Liga glory in 2018-19.
Joao Cancelo €65m (£59m)
The full-back position is a complex area for Guardiola, whose formation often centres on inverted full-backs and overloads. City splashed the cash on Cancelo last year but question marks remain over the 26-year-old Portugal international.
Aymeric Laporte €65m (£59m)
Of all of Guardiola’s recruits in central defence, Laporte is the only one to truly convince. However, Laporte’s fitness has proven a problem since being prised away from Athletic Bilbao two years ago.
Benjamin Mendy €57.5m (£52m)
A key member in Monaco’s memorable run to the 2016-17 Champions League semi-finals and triumphant Ligue 1 campaign, Mendy arrived amid much fanfare in 2017. Mendy’s off-field activities and his knee issues have prevented City from seeing the best of the France international left-back week in, week out.
John Stones €55.6m (£50m)
Identified as the ideal ball-playing centre-back to fit into Guardiola’s system, it has not gone according to plan for Stones, who left Everton in 2016. After a promising start to life, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss appears to have lost faith in the often-injured Englishman.
Kyle Walker €52.7m (£48m)
Walker has served well under Guardiola, having joined as one of the best players in the league in 2017. Aside from a couple of dips in form and questionable off-field choices, the ex-Tottenham full-back remains important to what Pep is trying to achieve in Manchester.
Nathan Ake €45.3m (£41m)
Ake was the first defender through the door ahead of the 2020-21 season after City were dethroned by Liverpool last term. Lured away from relegated Bournemouth, the left-footed centre-back has started both of City’s Premier League fixtures, scoring in the humbling defeat to Leicester.
Danilo €30m (£27m)
The Brazilian full-back is no longer a City player. Part of the deal that saw Cancelo swap Juventus for City in 2019, Danilo arrived as a LaLiga champion and two-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid. But the 29-year-old never really convinced in a City shirt.
Angelino €12m (£10.9m)
Part of City’s youth team from 2013, Angelino eventually left for Dutch giants PSV five years later. After impressing in Eindhoven, City triggered their buy-back clause to re-sign the Spaniard in July 2019. Angelino made 12 appearances before being loaned out to RB Leipzig in the second half of last season. Despite interest from Barca, he is back on loan in Leipzig.
Oleksandr Zinchenko €2m (£1.8m)
The 23-year-old left-back was plucked from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2016. Following a couple of loan spells, Guardiola has often called on Zinchenko, who played 19 Premier League matches in 2019-20.