Pep pulled £77m transfer masterclass at Man City

Manchester City were victorious against Arsenal last night in what turned out to be a footballing lesson for Mikel Arteta’s side. The current champions schooled the Gunners at the Etihad in a 4-1 win, City had 52% of possession over the 90 minutes in what was an abysmal night for the league leaders.

There was so much hype leading up to the game, particularly following the north Londoners dip in form that saw them take just three points from a possible nine before the trip to Manchester. The stage was set for a night of champions, yet only one side showed up to battle.


Arsenal deserve a lot of praise for what they’ve done this season, but when going toe-to-toe with City, there’s no room for error in a title charge. It was a difference in class on both of the occasions that the sides met in the league, with the Sky Blues racking up an aggregate score of 7-2 over the Gunners, which tells the story of what Arteta’s side have to do to compete with the best again next season.

A lot of talk has been shed regarding the transfers of Gabriel Jesus (£45m) and Oleksandr Zinchenko (£32m) from Manchester to north London. When Arsenal were on top it was questionable as to why City let them go to a rival, however, Guardiola has always been stern in his answers saying “we [City] are happy, they are happy,” when quizzed on the decision to let them go.

How have City improved from the transfers?

The sale of Jesus was inevitable, with the Brazilian knowing his time was up in Manchester when the Blues announced the signing of Erling Haaland before the transfer window officially opened last summer.

Jesus is a player that offers so much but simply poses no strong threat in comparison to Haaland in Guardiola’s squad. During his final season for City, the 26-year-old found the net eight times in 28 appearances in the Premier League, Haaland provided an instant upgrade, most notably through the 33 goals he’s scored so far in 29 appearances.

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The departure of Jesus also allowed the signing of Julian Alvarez to flourish, the 23-year-old striker has been deployed as a backup to Haaland and has done an impressive job. The Argentinian has scored seven times this season, and has a conversion rate higher than Jesus (31%), epitomising the success of the sale for City.

The same can be said with Zinchenko, the versatile full-back has had an impressive season for Arsenal but at times has been at fault for conceded goals and lack of composure.

Jesus, the sale of the Ukrainian was the necessary trade for better things, as the club captured the signature of Manuel Akanji, who has had a formidable first season – described as a “gift” by Guardiola, the Swiss international has shown his versatility in defence since his arrival.

Zinchenko wasn’t regarded as a starter in his final season at City, where he featured just 15 times in the league and by the end of the campaign was a profitable trade for the Sky Blues to cash in on. While the current champions gave Arsenal a good player, they won the deal by bringing in Akanji, who has fared better than the Ukrainian in terms of clearances, blocks and clean sheets so far, despite playing fewer games.

City have made the changes that have seemingly taken them to the next level of their dominance, the treble is still a possibility and with a Champions League semi-final coming up, the script could be written for European success to finally grace the Etihad.

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