Phillips, Mendy and Other Pep Guardiola’s Flop Signings at Manchester City

Phillips, Mendy and Other Pep Guardiola’s Flop Signings at Manchester City

Elijah Odetokun
April 2, 2024 at 10:25 AM
In this article:
Kalvin Phillips logo
West Ham United logoMEngland logo
Claudio Bravo logo
C. Bravo
Portland Timbers logoDArgentina logo
Nolito logo
Ibiza Eivissa logoFSpain logo
Benjamin Mendy logo
B. Mendy
Lorient logoDFrance logo
Jack Grealish logo
Manchester City logoMEngland logo
Danilo Luiz logo
Juventus logoDBrazil logo
Manchester City logo
Manchester City
  • Pep Guardiola has been in charge of Manchester City since 2016
  • He has won it all at the club, including a historic treble last season
  • Despite this, not every of his transfer decisions have been perfect

Pep Guardiola is one of the greatest and most successful football managers ever, having achieved success managing Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City.

He is currently in charge of Man City and has been there since 2016 after enjoying three successful seasons at Bayern Munich. He has won it all with the English club.

Kalvin Phillips, Pep Guardiola, Manchester City, Newcastle United, St James Park, Premier League.
Pep Guardiola and Kalvin Phillips embrace after Manchester City's comeback win over Newcastle United. Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt.
Source: Getty Images

In the eyes of most of his fans, especially Barcelona supporters, he can do no wrong and is always right, yet his transfer decisions at City in the past years have seen more bad than good.

Sports Brief looks at the top six of his flop signings at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola's flops at Man City

1. Kalvin Phillips

The Yorkshire Pirlo moved from Leeds United to City in 2022. He struggled for minutes, and when opportunities came, he never took them. He won the treble and two league titles but was mostly a spectator. He is on loan at West Ham United but has been a disaster for the London club.

The manager called the player overweight after returning from the 2022 World Cup. The England international took the words badly and admitted they had affected him. Pep apologised belatedly via the Guardian.

2. Danilo

City signed the Brazilian defender from Real Madrid in 2017, and it took only a short time before it became apparent it was a wrong move. Per Goal, City and Juventus were involved in a swap deal involving João Cancelo and Danilo in 2019. It benefited both sides as the former Madrid star is Juve’s captain after four years.

3. Benjamin Mendy

The decision to pay £52 million for Mendy from Monaco is looked at by fans as a poor one. He struggled to stay fit and be consistent and his time at the club ended in 2021 when he was arrested on assault charges. He was cleared in 2023, but still left the club.

4. Nolito

Guardiola signed former Barcelona forward, Nolito, in his first season at City. After one season and a return of four league goals, the manager cut his losses and sold him to Sevilla. Nolito cited the weather and family reasons for his struggles and retired last year.

5. Claudio Bravo

The former Barcelona midfielder signed 33-year-old Claudio Bravo to help implement his style of play and ditched Joe Hart. Bravo’s weakness in other goalkeeping areas let him down, and he was replaced by Ederson a year later. At 40, he's still between the sticks at Real Betis.

6. Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish's undoing is his hefty price tag. City paid £100mil in 2021, a British record transfer fee at that time. His output level has not differed from what it was at Aston Villa. Fans consider him a flop, but it could be argued this is a bit harsh.

It's too early for the jury to be out on his new signings, Jeremy Doku, Matheus Nunes, and others, but they are following the same path as others on this list.

Five players who fell out with Guardiola

Sports Brief previously reported on five players who fell out with Guardiola after João Cancelo called out the manager and branded him a liar for how their time at City ended.

The Portuguese full-back has joined a list of players who have had a public spat with the Spanish boss, including former players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Yaya Toure.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.