Top 15 Worst Pep Guardiola Signings

As a player, Pep Guardiola will be remembered as a calm and composed defensive midfielder that led Barcelona to numerous trophies as captain during his 17 years with the club. However, as a coach Pep has really come into his own, revolutionizing the game. Guardiola will surely be known to most for being one of, if not the, best managers in the world today and probably history.

Since making his fledgling footsteps in management with the Barcelona B team in 2007, Guardiola has won an incredible 19 trophies and more importantly changed the way that football is played, pioneering the tiki-taka system that has become synonymous with his team’s football.

Granted, Guardiola has inherited two world class teams in Barcelona and Bayern Munich, each filled with star players such as Leo Messi and Philipp Lahm, so has never really been the type of coach to bring in a huge number of players to the clubs he has managed. His role has been more about finding the fight formula for his teams to dominate games while playing beautiful football.

Having said that about his transfer activity, Guardiola is not scared to splash the cash and is responsible for singing lots of world class talent for his teams including Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique at Barcelona and Robert Lewandowski, Xabi Alonoso and Douglas Costa at Bayern Munich to name just a few.

With Pep Guardiola’s imminent arrival at the Etihad Stadium in the Blue half of Manchester confirmed and surely more signings on the way, we felt we should take a look at some of his transfers that haven't quite worked out as expected during his time coaching these two European giants. After all, even the best managers have blots on their copybooks - just ask Sir Alex Ferguson about overseeing the signings of Eric Djemba-Djemba, Juan Sebastian Veron and Dong Fangzhou.

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15 Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich) 

Even before a hugely impressive 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Vidal was a much sought after player. The only question mark for most clubs was his tendency to get injured. That didn't stop Guardiola from splashing out £27.75 million at the end of July 2015 to sign Vidal who was expected to bulk up the Bayern Munich midfield after the departure of the Manchester United bound Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Again, it is unfair to suggest that Vidal has been a poor signing as it is still his first season playing with the Bavarians, however fans are yet to see the explosive, battle-like football that has become synonymous with the Chilean's game.

Only time will tell if we can see his true potential in the famous red Bayern unifrom.

14 Sven Ulreich (Bayern Munich) 

After playing 220 games for the Stuttgart first-team, the £2.63 million signing of Ulreich was a somewhat surprising one. The goalkeeper was bought as a back up to Manuel Neuer but with an already capable deputy in Tom Starke at the club, the transfer is an odd one for the player rather than the club.

With Manuel Neuer being arguably the best number one in the world, Ulreich will find it almost impossible to dislodge him as long as he wants to stay with the Bavarian giants. To date, Ulreich has played just two games for the club against Dinamo Zagreb after first place in their Champions League group was already confirmed and against FC Nöttingen in the first round of the German Cup.

13 Mario Götze (Bayern Munich) 

Although some readers will see this as a controversial inclusion, Mario Götze has been included on this list as he has often struggled for form at Bayern Munich and is yet to fulfill his undisputed talent, even under the tutelage of Guardiola.

The hero of Germany's World Cup 2014 triumph, Götze's transfer from rivals Borussia Dortmund sent shock-waves through German football. Not only was he the team's star player, Bayern were (and still are) the club's biggest domestic rivals. Not to mention the £27.75 million fee that the Bavarians paid when meeting the player's release clause.

Although the attacking midfielder's statistics have been good throughout his spell in Bavaria, he has often been criticized for not performing to the high standards that are expected of him and it can be argued that his game hasn't kicked on since his transfer took place in July 2013.

12 Cesc Fàbregas (Barcelona) 

If it wasn't for the genius of Lionel Messi, perhaps Fàbregas would have been more successful during his return to the Camp Nou. Both players played in similar positions which meant there was only to be one winner.

Both men love to arrive in the space between the opposition defense and midfield, but with the brilliance of the Argentine, there would be limited playing time for Fàbregas.

Although the £25.5 million signing's Barcelona career cannot be deemed a failure after numerous trophies and 42 goals in 151 games, it has to go down as one of Guardiola's stranger signings.

11 Medhi Benatia (Bayern Munich) 

Since electing to join Bayern Munich in the summer of 2014 after a long transfer pursuit that included the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, Medhi Benatia has been plagued with injuries.

The talented £21 million centre-back has the skill to play for Bayern long term should his injuries allow him, after only making 34 appearances since arriving in Germany from Roma one-and-a-half years ago.

Although it is harsh to say that the Moroccan is one of Guardiola's worst signings, he makes the list purely due to his high price tag and constant injury problems.

10 José Manuel Pinto (Barcelona) 

Although José Manuel Pinto was not technically a Pep Guardiola signing, the goalkeeper makes the list after joining Barcelona permanently on the same day as the Catalan became head coach.

Pinto had been on loan at the club as cover for first choice keeper Víctor Valdés and secured a permanent deal after appearing in three league games.

Although Guardiola trusted the goalkeeper for the cup games - mainly Copa Del Rey, Pinto will probably remembered by the Barcelona faithful more for his terrible hair and erratic play than his goalkeeping ability.

9 Jan Kirchhoff (Bayern Munich) 

Although the centre-back arrived on a free transfer from Mainz 05 which didn't eat into the Bayern coffers, it was still a fairly odd signing for the usually astute Spaniard. Kirchhoff struggled to break into the first-team with Boateng and Benatia preferred in the starting line-up.

Kirchhoff played only 144 minutes for Bayern in 12 outings before heading out on loan to Schalke for the whole of last season without a great deal of success or appearances for the Gelsenkirchen based club.

The 25-year-old didn't get a chance to establish himself on his return to Bavaria and was sold to Sunderland in the transfer window that has just closed.

8 Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona) 

Ibrahim Afellay was signed by Guardiola in the January 2011 transfer window from his boyhood club PSV Eindhoven whom he joined as a 10-year-old. The talented youngster was snapped up for a bargain £2.25 million but things didn't work out for the Dutchman in the star-studded Barcelona squad.

Afellay became a bit-part player for the Blaugrana until a cruciate ligament injury ruined the start of his second season with the club. On recovereing from the injury, the winger was sent out on loan to regain fitness to Schalke and Greek team Olympiacos but was deemed surplus to requirements on his return.

Afellay played just 35 games with 24 of those as substitute - in fact, the Dutch international played a total of just 1,142 minutes for the club or just under 13 full-games!

7 Pepe Reina (Bayern Munich) 

Pepe Reina was a £2.25 million signing in the in the summer of 2014. The current Napoli stopper was signed as competition to Bayern's number one goalkeeper Manuel Neuer but hardly got a look in to first-team affairs during his stay in Southern Germany.

The former Liverpool number one managed just three first-team appearances for the club with his third and final appearance against Augsburg being one to forget.

Reina was sent-off after just 13 minutes of the encounter for a foul on Raul Bobadilla inside the penalty area. The converted penalty proved to be decisive as Augsburg condemned Die Roten to a 0-1 home defeat.

6 Henrique (Barcelona) 

via espn.uol.com.br

The then 21-year-old Brazilian centre-back Henrique was signed shortly after Guardiola took over first-team affairs. Perhaps the Board are more to blame for this £6 million signing, but as Guardiola was officially in charge when the youngster joined, he makes the list.

Henrique who has just returned to Brazil after a stint with Napoli in Serie A, was earmarked as a potential great after making his debut for Brazil in 2008 against Venezuela. However, things didn't quite pan out that way and has had a fairly unspectacular career.

Although, the youngster was signed by Guardiola, he never managed to make an appearance for Barcelona - during his time with the club, he spent time out on loan at Bayer Leverkusen, Racing Santander and Palmeiras respectively before rejoining the latter permanently.

5 Martín Cáceres (Barcelona) 

via fcbtransfers.blogspot.com

Current Juventus centre-back Martín Cáceres joined as an £12.38 million signing from Villareal in July of 2008, shortly after Guardiola's Barcelona reign began. Despite never making an appearance for Villareal, Cáceres performances while out on loan at Recreativo did enough to convince the coach that he could play a part in the Barcelona squad.

Unfortunately for Cáceres, poor performances, competition from more established stars and a couple of injuries meant that his career with Blaugrana never really took off. The player managed to make just 23 appearances during his stay, in what was his only season in the Catalan capital.

Cáceres first went on loan to Juventus and then Sevilla before signing for the latter on a permanent basis for £2.25 million in 2011.

4 Dmytro Chygrynskiy (Barcelona) 

Long-haired central-defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy was signed from Shakhtar Donetsk for a fee of £18.75 million in the summer of 2009, becoming the first Ukrainian to represent Barcelona.

Pep Guardiola rated the youngster highly and saw enough of the defender during his five championship-winning years with Shakhtar to sign the player as a long-term replacement for the ageing Carles Puyol.

However, after a mediocre first season in Spain where he made just 14 appearances, new Barca President Sandro Rosell sold Chygrynsky back to Shakhtar for £11.25 million against the wishes of Guardiola.

3 Aleksandr Hleb (Barcelona) 

via dailymail.co.uk

Creative midfield Aleksandr Hleb was one of Pep Guardiola's first signings after becoming the head coach of Barcelona in July 2008. At £12.75 million, the signing of Hleb looked to be a masterpiece after starring for Arsenal with some magic displays over the previous few seasons in England.

It was expected that Hleb would slot straight into the Barcelona team, but it didn't quite turn out that way after the Belarusian's professionalism came into question. The transfer turned out to be a nightmare for Hleb as he became a bench-warmer at the Camp Nou.

After several failed loan spells with Stuttgart, Birmingham City and Wolfsburg, the Belarusian's contract ran out and he joined Krylia Sovetov in the Russian Premier League. Since his transfer to Bracelona, the player has never showed the quality that was on display during his days in London.

2 Keirrison (Barcelona) 

via globoesporte.globo.com

Keirrison has to go down as one of the most bizarre Guardiola signings although the blame may lie with the President rather than the coach himself for overseeing the transfer.

The Brazilian forward was signed in 2009 for £10.5 million - a huge fee considering no-one had really heard of him. The transfer proved to be a disaster for Barcelona with the player never making an appearance for the team.

Keirrison was loaned out to Benfica, Fiorentina, Santos, Cruzeiro and Coritiba before joining the latter permanently after being released from the club in 2014.

1 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Barcelona) 

The controversial Swede completed his dream move to Barcelona in a £52.13 million deal that saw Samuel Eto'o move in the opposite direction to Inter Milan.

His career in Catalonia started in spectacular fashion, with the Swede scoring in each of his first five league games for his new club, setting a record in the process.

Although Ibrahimovic was playing well and scoring, off-field politics involving Messi and coach Guardiola started to limit his playing time in his preferred position until coming to a head with a falling out with the latter half-way through the season.

It was the start of the end for the striker who left for AC Milan at the end of the season. Although statistically, the Ibrahimovic signing was excellent with 22 goals in 46 games and several trophies, it has to go done as Guardiola's worst in terms of personality clashes and the sheer money involved.


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