Manchester City have been busy in the transfer market already with two key pla..." /> Pep Guardiola gets early start to Premier League title race - CricketSoccer

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Published on June 9th, 2017 | by Vieri Capretta

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Pep Guardiola gets early start to Premier League title race

Manchester City have been busy in the transfer market already with two key players signed this summer…and an awful lot more to come

Three hundred million pounds. A huge sum for anybody, even for Manchester City. This is the amount Pep Guardiola has been given to make the additions to the team he thinks are necessary to make it even more his, and finally give it a proper go at wrapping the Premier League trophy in sky blue. After being the highest spenders a year ago, City promise to do the same this year. But it might not be enough to win.

What is key is how the players will fit together and learn how to play as a team. A Guardiola team, to be precise. And to do so, time is essential. Pep has started in the best way possible, bringing in players early to start working on them.

The signings of Bernardo Silva from Monaco and Ederson from Benfica point in this direction: get the business done early, bring in the new faces, and start crafting the Guardiola style of play. The whole squad has a year of training, Gabriel Jesus six months of adaptation: City could be a much more Guardiola side by September than what we’ve seen so far.

A goalkeeper was needed, and there he is. Now on to the defence, that has seemed like the Achille’s heel for most of the past season. Actually, they might want to change the defence as a whole unit. Guardiola loves playing players in a total football style, everyone being forced to adapt to almost every position. But defenders are needed.

If Nicolas Otamendi has proved to be not good enough, John Stones is the foundation stone to build on. Then, the rest of the summer budget should go on the back four, considering the likes of Sergio Aguero are still available up front. A center back like Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus could be the right name.

But whoever joins, the sooner the better. Guardiola’s football needs time to filter into the players’ minds and be reproduced out on the pitch. Every footballer should have at least three passing options at any given time: constant movement, with the necessity of being technical and physical.

Defending is also key. As a team, of course. High pressing to regain possession further up on the pitch and have less space to cover when attacking. In a nutshell, this is what Guardiola would like to see from his players week in week out. It hasn’t always happened since he’s at Man City.

Other managers, like José Mourinho, rely more on the players’ ability to become a team on the pitch alone. The likes of Guardiola or Antonio Conte mould the team with time, and considering Pep is already a year into his trophy-less project, the Spanish coach won’t have that much time left.

Guardiola said it himself: “At another club I would have been fired already”. So with time passing fast, concluding the transfer business now will enable Guardiola to work on his players for longer, being ready in August: Manchester City are working to be back to being a proper Premier League challenger.

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mm

A freelance journalist and broadcaster focusing on European soccer and currently featuring on Uefa.com, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Marca in English and more.



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