City Stadium, Manchester, UK. 2nd Oct, 2022. Premier League football, Manchester City versus Manchester United; Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola gives instructions to Bernardo Silva of Manchester City

Comparing Man Utd and Man City’s net spend since Guardiola arrived

Manchester City have spent a lot of money since Pep Guardiola took charge of the club in 2016 – but how does their outlay compare to their old rivals Manchester United?

Guardiola once explained that “we have a lot of money to buy a lot of incredible players” is one of the key reasons for his success at the Etihad.

And it can’t be said he’s not been successful during his time as City boss, having delivered five Premier League titles, four League Cups and one FA Cup during his time in England.

But City aren’t the only club that have spent lavishly during Guardiola’s reign. In fact, you only need to look across the city of Manchester to see another club that have spent over a billion pounds on player transfers in the last six and a half years.

“If they spend a little more money, yes! It’s because they didn’t spend, isn’t it?” Guardiola quipped when asked if he considers their city rivals as genuine title challengers.

The 52-year-old tactician has been keen to stress that City aren’t the only Premier League club to invest a lot of money in their squads.

“Listen – a lot of clubs invested. (Manchester) United, Arsenal – in periods before winning the leagues – invested more money than the other ones. When Chelsea started to win Premier Leagues, they invested more money than the other ones,” Guardiola told reporters back in 2020.

“I’m a good manager but I don’t win titles if I don’t have good players and good players are expensive. All the clubs spend a lot of money: Barcelona spend a lot of money, Madrid spend a lot of money, English teams spend a lot of money.

“If we build the club, in terms of the last decade, to compete with the elite of the Premier League or Champions League, we need to invest.

“We can spend as much money as our chairman or our owners want, but always always in the Financial Fair Play rules and we showed it. We were exonerated for something we were accused of all the time.

“I don’t want to apologise for anything. I’m sorry guys. Manchester City don’t have (to) apologise because three independent judges decided we have done everything properly. It’s clear – more than clear.”

While City have plenty to show for their transfer outlay, the same can’t be said for their city rivals United, who have come to live in City’s shadows during the majority of Guardiola’s time in England. Erik ten Hag has certainly recognised this.

“The club has bought an unimaginable number of players in recent years who have not been good enough,” Ten Hag told reporters.

“Most purchases have been average – and at United average is not good enough. United’s shirt weighs heavily. Only real personalities, who can perform under great pressure, can play here.”

But how do the two clubs compare when it comes to their transfer spending during Guardiola’s time in Manchester? We’ve taken an in-depth look, comparing their net spend since the summer of 2016.

Man City’s net spend since 2016-17

Five Biggest Purchases

1. Jack Grealish – £105.8million
2. Ruben Dias – £61.2million
3. Riyad Mahrez – £61million
4. Joao Cancelo – £58.5million
5. Aymeric Laporte – £58.5million

Five Biggest Sales

1. Leroy Sane – £54million
2. Raheem Sterling – £50.9million
3. Ferran Torres – £49.5million
4. Gabriel Jesus – £47million
5. Danilo – £33.3million

Total Spent: £1.074billion
Total Sold: £596million

Total Net Spend: £478million

Man Utd’s net spend since 2016-17

Five Biggest Purchases

1. Paul Pogba – £94.50million
2. Antony – £86million
3. Harry Maguire – £78.30million
4. Jadon Sancho – £76.5million
5. Romelu Lukaku – £76.23million

Five Biggest Sales

1. Romelu Lukaku – £66.60million
2. Henrikh Mkhitaryan – £30.60million
3. Daniel James – £26.19million
4. Morgan Schneiderlin – £20.70million
=5. Memphis Depay – £14.40million
=5. Daley Blind – £14.40million

Total Spent: £1.077billion
Total Sold: £242million

Total Net Spend: £835million

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