Big shift in power in the blue half of Manchester as Pep Guardiola has taken control of Manchester City ’s recruitment strategy.
After wasting a fortune in the transfer market over the last four years, there has been a significant shift in the way City handle deals.
NowGuardiola has been given power to identify and sign targets that predecessors Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini were never granted, and he also has the final say on contract extensions.
Director of football Txiki Begiristain continues to handle negotiations when it comes to the minutiae of transfer fees and wages and his remit to attract the world’s best young talent to the club’s state-of-the-art £200million Academy also remains unchanged.
But this shift of power inside the Etihad is a big development.
A footballer insider with extensive experience of dealing with the club told the Sunday Mirror:
“It is not like it was under Mancini or Pellegrini. They made recommendations to the club, but the decision always belonged to Txiki.
“Now, absolutely nothing is done until it has been decided by Pep.”
Guardiola was attracted to City by the prospect of becoming a traditional manager with power to buy and sell after being mainly restricted to a coaching role at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
And the chance to work with former Barca directors Begiristain and Ferran Soriano was a major factor in the 46-year-old’s decision to join City.
All three men trust each other implicitly.
However, Begiristain’s record in the transfer market has been wretched.
City have spent around £511m on signings during his spell in charge of the chequebook, yet Guardiola inherited one of the oldest squads in the Premier League when he arrived in the summer.
The Blues remain heavily reliant on players such as Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta, who were all signed under the old regime of Garry Cook and Brian Marwood.
Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling were bought 18 months ago, in the knowledge that they were admired by Guardiola, while the Catalan was key in last summer’s recruitment of tyros such as John Stones, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus.
The power Guardiola holds was best illustrated in the way he could dispose of Joe Hart last summer – even though other influential members of the club’s hierarchy felt it was a mistake to replace England’s first-choice goalkeeper with Claudio Bravo.
The blundering Chilean, bought from Barca for £15m in August at the age of 33, has been dropped for City’s last two games and is unlikely to return for Sunday’s visit of Swansea.