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Sam Allardyce defines Pep Guardiola's self-induced trap

Friday 28th July 2017
Sam Allardyce recently stated heavy spending actually makes a manager's job harder, thanks to increased pressure and expectations from the board, fans, and media. Was he thinking about Pep Guardiola at Manchester City?

Let me be clear: the more money you have, the more successful you are likely to be. While fans may yearn for fairy tales like Leicester City, many actually forget the Foxes spent lavishly in the Championship, under Nigel Pearson, to build a squad capable of gaining promotion to the Premier League. They didn't spend the mad money littering the modern game but nor did they move up courtesy homegrown talents developed through the academy.

Spending, unfortunately, is a necessary evil. Even Arsene Wenger must admit that much. However, it's not taking the easy way out. In fact, it is very difficult and can place extra strain on a manager's tenure. Sam Allardyce recently resigned from Crystal Palace thanks to the increasing pressures that he was feeling. Nearly two decades worth of invaluable experience weren't enough to stand up to it.

The difficulty for managers is the amount of money that is being spent. The actual increase in the team is probably less than 5% and that's what you're searching for now. You're searching for just a small percentage and having to pay millions and in some cases hundreds of millions for that little difference.--Allardyce to BBC Sport
Big Sam was referring to extra pressure and expectation heaped on a team as a result of its investment. We live in a demanding, business-driven world. Everyone is looking for a return on investment, especially in a sport as well-funded and supported as football. The higher the investment, the higher the expected return, and, therefore, the greater the pressure.

It is in this context that Pep Guardiola is changing our perspective of an 'upper-tier' signing. It used to be the case that any fee greater than £30 million was seen as substantial, perhaps even over-inflated. All five senior signings City have made this summer meet or exceed that bar. Danilo, a full-back who likely won't even start, was the most affordable.

In this transfer window alone, City have twice broken the record fee paid for a defender, buying Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker, and once for goalkeepers, in obtaining Ederson. They have topped £50 million twice. Every City transfer ranks to date ranks among the 12 most costly in the Premier League this summer, per TransferMarkt.

Moreover, Guardiola is building on previous investments. The Catalan acquired John Stones, Leroy Sane, Nolito, Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus in similar big-money moves last season. Fair to say, at best, only two of the five have thus far lived up to their price tag.

This is not to say spending is bad. Again, it is necessary for success. I'm not even arguing City's spending has been ill-advised under Guardiola. There is a very good chance, given his eye for talent, the coaching and development he can offer, and the protection built into his possession-based system, a majority of Guardiola's investments will prove successful. The intent is simply to outline the significance of City's spending and to raise an element of caution.
As Allardyce rightly points out, increased spending increases expectations. Neither has ever been higher for Guardiola. If his investments fail to live up to expectations, Pep could be digging himself a rather expensive grave.
Andrew Dowdeswell

A sport obsessed 20 something who just really wants Arsenal to finally win the league. Please Wenger, what the hell happened to you?!


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