Manchester City are a club happy to splash the cash, not only when it comes to buying players but also to secure the services of the one of the best managers in world football. Pep Guardiola, is arguably the best coach in the modern game and has seemingly unlimited funds, to bring in the players he requires.
To date, Guardiola who has spent big on the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus. These transfers have amounted to fees of over £100 million with more players likely to join before the transfer window shuts, at the end of August. Blending these new players into a team, with the existing squad at the Etihad is one thing, however, a possible problem Manchester City will be facing, is injuries.
Last season, the fitness of a number of players at Manchester City, was brought into question. Key players missed large chunks of the season, including Vincent Kompany, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero. Even with the recent additions, these are players Guardiola cannot do without this season.
So what has Guardiola done, to ensure the same thing will not happen this season? Initial reports suggest the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss, has cut pizza, fruit juice and other ‘heavy foods’ from the player’s diet. Full-back Gael Clichy, has commented on how players who are over-weight, have been asked not to train with the rest of the squad. So Guardiola is clearly taking steps to keep his players in shape.
That being said, a quick glance back to Guardiola’s days at Bayern Munich, suggest he is a manager who cannot keep his players fit for an entire season. The likes of Thiago Alcantara, Javi Martinez, Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben, Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng, Mario Gotze and David Alaba all missed plenty of games due to injury under Guardiola. Furthermore, last season, Guardiola only had 14 first-team players to choose from in the Champions League quarter-final, against Porto, resulting in a 3-1 defeat in the first leg.
Whether it was the fault of the medical team at the Allianz Arena or the manager, Guardiola is a man who likes his players to work hard and press the opposition and it will be interesting to see how Manchester City’s fragile squad, cope with the workload.
Can Guardiola and his medical team keep key players fit throughout the season? If not, Manchester City will find it tough to compete, across both the Premier League and Champions League, this coming season.