Pep Guardiola’s record of signing players since taking over as Manchester City boss is excellent.
The Spaniard has replaced City legends David Silva, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany with some brilliant acquisitions – with the likes of Bernardo Silva and Ruben Dias proving to be huge hits at the Etihad.
Over 40 players have been brought in since Guardiola took over in 2016 but only 21 of them have made a Premier League appearance as a number of others have gone out on loan to develop.
But which of his 21 incoming transfers has been the best? And which could, perhaps, be doing more to justify the money City spent to bring them in?
Here, we rank Guardiola’s signings from worst to best since Guardiola took charge.
21. Benjamin Mendy
Mendy was signed in the summer of 2017 with huge expectations after a stellar season for unlikely Ligue 1 winners Monaco but he has struggled to stay fit.
Despite costing £50 million the Frenchman has failed to ever make 20 appearances in a single Premier League season, making him the worst Guardiola signing at City considering value for money and impact.
Another defender who was signed that summer was Brazilain full-back Danilo, who cost City £30million from Real Madrid.
Danilo struggled to have a meaningful impact, often underperforming in an unfavoured role at left-back during his time in Manchester and was eventually sold to Juventus in August 2019.
19. Claudio Bravo
Claudio Bravo joined the Guardiola revolution in August 2016 for a fee in the region of £16million, a steep price considering he was 33 years old at the time.
The Chilean shot-stopper was brought in due to his apparent excellent distribution but he turned out to be a poor signing, often costing City games on his own due to his concentration lapses.
Bravo even went on a stretch in January 2017 where he failed to make a single save across four games, conceding seven goals in the process.
City re-signed versatile Spaniard Angelino, triggering an £11million buy-back clause in the summer of 2019 after he had impressed in the Netherlands with PSV.
Angelino was largely used as a left-back during his time in England but he was fairly unimpressive and fell down the pecking order behind the likes of Zinchenko and Mendy before eventually departing to RB Leipzig in a loan deal that was eventually made permanent.
17. Nathan Ake
Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake joined City last August for a fee of around £40million, a steep evaluation for a player that was unlikely to start many games.
Ake struggled with hamstring problems throughout his debut campaign in Manchester, featuring just 10 times in the Premier League.
Spanish forward Nolito was one of Guardiola’s first signings as City boss and the former Celta Vigo man got off to a solid start at the Etihad, bagging two goals and an assist during his first three Premier League appearances.
However, Nolito was reportedly unsettled in England and was moved on just 12 months after joining.
The former Spain international registered six goals and four assists during his year in Manchester, a respectable return for a £16 million signing.
15. Zack Steffen
Promising young goalkeeper Zack Steffen joining City from MLS outfit Colombus Crew in July 2019 for £6million, a decent fee considering his potential.
After an impressive loan spell with German side Fortuna Düsseldorf, Steffen spent last season as Ederson’s understudy.
The USA international made a total of 12 appearances across all four competitions, conceding on just six occasions, an impressive return.
14. Ferran Torres
City purchased Valencia starlet Ferran Torres from Valencia last summer for just £20million, a steal for a player that had caught the eye of several top clubs across Europe.
Despite limited game time, Torres has showcased why he has attracted such hype, bagging 13 goals and notching three assists in his first season in England.
The Spaniard was electric during City’s thrilling 4-3 win over Newcastle last months, netting an impressive hat-trick, including a sublime backheel volley that nestled in the top corner.
13. Joao Cancelo
It seems harsh to place Cancelo so far down this list considering his excellent showings during the 2020/21 season but that is testament to how successful some of Guardiola’s other signings have been.
The former Juventus full-back joined the Spaniard’s side in the summer of 2019, commanding a hefty £58 million fee after an impressive stint in Turin.
Cancelo endured a difficult debut campaign but found his feet this year, playing a crucial role in City’s fifth Premier League triumph.
The Portuguese defender has been utilised on both flanks and boasts incredible attacking numbers, averaging 2.87 shot-creating actions per game, more than the likes of Liverpool’s Andy Roberton or Chelsea’s Reece James.
12. Gabriel Jesus
Jesus joined City in January 2017 for £28million from Brazilian side Palmeiras.
The young striker has failed to consistently hold down a starting spot up front having often played second fiddle to the now departed Sergio Aguero.
However, it is easy to see why Guardiola still values Jesus as a crucial member of the squad.
The 24-year-old has scored on 81 occasions across 192 games under Guardiola, a statistic that is even more impressive when you consider he has played a total of 11,610 minutes for City, meaning he averages a goal every 143 minutes.
11. Oleksandr Zinchenko
Ukrainian Oleksandr Zinchenko joined City in July 2016 for just £1.5 million in a transfer that didn’t garner much attention in the Premier League.
Fast forward five years and the signing has proved to be one of Guardiola’s biggest bargains.
The former Barcelona boss has developed Zinchenko from a promising playmaker into a solid inverted full-back, a turnaround that few would have expected.
Zinchenko has gone on to make 100 appearances for City, including 32 last season in what was perhaps his most impressive yet.
10. Leroy Sane
Two years ago it would have seemed scandalous to include Sane this far down the list after he had three extremely impressive seasons in Manchester following his move from Schalke in the summer of 2016.
The German wide man provided the perfect mix of electric pace, intelligent decision making and ice-cool finishing to become an immediate favourite at the Etihad.
During his time at City, he provided 39 goals and 45 assists across 135 games, an outstanding return for a young winger.
However, Sane fell out of favour with Guardiola and after a torn ACL the 25-year-old decided it was time to move on as he left City for German giants Bayern Munich last summer for £40million.
Rodri joined City from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2019 for just under £60million.
The Spain international has provided additional control to the middle of the park, showcasing his excellent passing as well as intelligent reading of the game.
City’s decision to leave Rodri out of the Champions League final and subsequent poor midfield performance was a testament to how much they rely on him for balance in midfield, as he sits deep to allow the more attack-minded players to advance forward.
8. Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez joined City in July 2018 for a hefty £60 million fee.
The Algerian wideman has put up solid numbers during his three seasons in Manchester, registering 39 goals and 37 assists despite being in and out of the first XI.
Mahrez also played a crucial role in City’s journey to the Champions League final, netting both goals in the Citizens’ 2-0 semi-final defeat of PSG.
7. Aymeric Laporte
Highly rated Basque-born centre-back Aymeric Laporte was added to the defensive ranks in January 2018 for £58.5 million
Laporte was an instant success in Manchester, helping guide City to a record 100 points in the Premier League and EFL Cup triumph in his debut campaign.
The 27-year-old has consistently performed in the heart of the City defence but has struggled for appearances in the last two seasons due to a combination of injury woes as well as the arrival of Ruben Dias.
6. John Stones
John Stones has had a rollercoaster City career since his £50million transfer from Everton in the summer of 2016.
However, in the big moments, the England international has shown why he has been rated so highly with his crucial goal-line clearance against Liverpool effectively winning City the title over the Reds in 2019.
Stones greatly improved his game during the course of last season, proving imperious in a City backline that conceded just five Champions League goals during the 2020/21 campaign.
5. Bernardo Silva
Bernardo Silva caught the eye of Pep Guardiola during a tie between Monaco and City in the 2016/17 Champions League in which Monaco were victorious, partly thanks to the brilliance of Bernardo.
Bernardo, who joined City the following summer, has offered a unique combination of press resistance, creativity and hard work since his move to Manchester, providing a whopping 79 goals and assists along the way.
The Portugal international has also added versatility to his game, performing in a number of different roles, including as a number 10, right-winger and even as a box-to-box midfielder.
4. Kyle Walker
Some eyebrows were raised when City splashed out £50million on Kyle Walker in July 2017 as it was one of the highest ever transfer fees for a defender at the time.
Fast forward four years and Walker has proved himself to be one of the best right-backs of the Premier League era, clinching three Premier League titles, four EFL Cups and an FA Cup in just four seasons in Manchester.
Walker’s electric pace combined with intelligent decision-making has made him the perfect full-back for a Guardiola side as he’s consistently heralded for stopping opposition counter-attacks as the last defender.
3. Ilkay Gundogan
Pep Guardiola’s first big-name signing was the acquisition of Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund for just £24million, a deal that many considered a steal considering he was renowned as one of the best midfielders in the world.
Gundogan has had a hugely successful stint at City, performing in several different midfield roles for the Blues.
The German international enjoyed his best season yet during the 2020/21 campaign, scoring 17 goals and registering a further five assists to help City clinch their fifth Premier League title.
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2. Ruben Dias
Promising Portuguese centre-back Ruben Dias was brought to the club last summer as a long-term replacement for City legend Vincent Kompany, who departed 12 months prior.
Dias was thought of as a talented centre-half with plenty of room to grow but it quickly became clear that he was already one of the world’s finest defenders.
City were impenetrable when Dias played in the team, conceding just 21 goals in the 34 Premier League games he appeared in, incredible statistics considering he was a young centre-back playing his first season in England.
Dias’ standout performances earned him nominations for both Premier League Young Player and Premier League Player of the season, two awards which he is favourite to win.
Another fantastic acquisition by Pep Guardiola was the signing of Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson from Benfica in 2017.
After Claudio Bravo had proved he wasn’t up to the task of leading City to a Premier League title, a then 23-year-old Ederson was handed the starting spot in between the sticks.
Ederson proved to be a resounding success, revolutionising the role of the ‘keeper due to his incredible distribution which has earned him four assists during his time in Manchester.
The Brazil international has also proved to be a talented shot-stopper, keeping 92 clean sheets in his 195 appearances for the Blues.
Do you agree with our rankings? Let us know in the comments section.