Pep Guardiola is one of the best managers in football history. The Spaniard has been a success at every club he has led.
During his time at a particular club, the former Barcelona player is known to have signed several players. Many would describe Pep Guardiola as a checkbook manager, but the truth is that he guarantees success.
Pep Guardiola’s signings have not all been fruitful.
Pep Guardiola has previously signed some really good players who have helped him bring a lot of success. While it has worked in the majority of cases, some players have not been particularly helpful to his cause.
Like any other manager, Pep Guardiola has sometimes struggled to find the right player for his team’s needs. On that note, let’s take a look at some of the Spanish tactician’s worst signings:
Number 5: Martin Caceres
Martin Caceres began his career in the Uruguayan league with Defensor. He joined Villarreal in 2007, but was quickly loaned out to Recreativo of Spain.
Caceres drew the attention of Pep Guardiola at Barcelona after impressing in La Liga. Villarreal sold him to the Catalan club for €16.5 million in the summer of 2008. The Uruguayan defender struggled to start frequently for the Spanish giants due to injuries and tactical decisions.
During his first and only season with Barcelona, he only made 13 La Liga appearances. After Gerard Pique, Rafael Marquez, and Carles Puyol, he was the fourth-choice center back. He was loaned out to Juventus the following season and never returned to the Spanish club.
Number 4: Nolito
The Spanish forward is a product of Barcelona’s youth system. Nolito rejected a new contract offer from the Catalan club after making two appearances for the senior side, citing concerns about playing time.
He joined Benfica in 2011 and spent nearly two seasons with the Portuguese club before joining Celta Vigo in La Liga. Nolito found his true form with them, reuniting with his former manager Luis Enrique. In his first season, he scored 14 goals and finished as the club’s leading scorer.
Over the next two seasons, he scored 25 goals and assisted 20, prompting Pep Guardiola to sign him to Manchester City in 2016. Unfortunately, Nolito was unable to replicate his form with the Citizens, scoring only four goals in 19 appearances. The Spaniard left City the following season to join Sevilla.
Number 3: Claudio Bravo
Pep Guardiola has managed some excellent goalkeepers during his managerial career, but Claudio Bravo’s case cannot be compared. While playing for Real Sociedad in La Liga, the Chilean goalkeeper made a name for himself.
His outstanding performances between the posts earned him a move to Barcelona in 2014. He won numerous trophies during his two seasons with the Catalan club, including the treble in 2014-15. He was chosen to be Victor Valdes’ successor, but with the arrival of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, his game time decreased.
Claudio Bravo was signed by Pep Guardiola in 2016. The transaction was completed for a fee of €18 million. The move did not go well, as the Chilean made a number of mistakes and conceded some ridiculous goals during his time at Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola was very supportive of him, but Bravo struggled to regain his form and was frequently benched. He joined Real Betis in 2020 and has remained with the club ever since.
Number 2: Alexander Hleb
Alexander Hleb was one of Arsene Wenger’s most underappreciated players. In 2005, Arsenal signed the Belarusian midfielder from VfB Stuttgart to play in the Premier League.
He played a variety of positions but was most often seen on the right wing. His quick and incisive passing, combined with some nimble footwork, proved extremely beneficial to the Gunners. Hleb worked well with his attackers and had a habit of bringing other players into the game.
This enticed Pep Guardiola to sign him in the summer of 2008 at Barcelona. While it appeared to be a perfect match, the Belarusian’s move did not go well.
He struggled to break into the starting eleven and failed to capitalize on the few opportunities he was given. It was a wasted talent, and Hleb was never able to reach his peak again after Barcelona.
Number 1: Dmytro Chyhrynskiy
Barcelona wanted to sign a strong center-back in the summer of 2009, with Pep Guardiola at the helm. Dmytro Chyhrynskiy was a standout for Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukrainian league at the time.
Chyhrynskiy was the ideal player for Pep Guardiola’s style of football, thanks to his strong and tall physique, aerial abilities, and ball-playing skills. Barcelona signed the Ukrainian center-back in 2009 for a fee of around €25 million. Despite the Catalan club winning the Spanish league that season, Chyhrynskiy struggled to find his footing in Spain.
He made 12 La Liga appearances but struggled to find his footing at the back. Pep Guardiola wanted to keep him, but the club decided to sell him the following season to Shakhtar Donetsk for around €15 million. In a single season, this resulted in a €10 million loss for the Spanish giants.