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£16.2m deal for Nolito a rare Pep Guardiola blunder in exceptional Manchester City reign

£16.2m deal for Nolito a rare Pep Guardiola blunder in exceptional Manchester City reign - Manchester City

Manchester City supporters have been pretty upbeat in recent times after seeing their team reach the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.

Pep Guardiola’s men went into their meeting with fellow Premier League outfit Leicester City off the back of getting past Oxford United and Fulham to reach the last eight, where they faced Claude Puel’s Foxes for the second successive season. And for the second time in 12 months, it was the Citizens who emerged victorious following a 1-1 draw after normal time at the King Power Stadium, with the visitors then going on to win the penalty shootout and thus book their place in the last four, where they will face League One side Burton Albion.

As such, there have been many thrilled City fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are daring to dream about what their side could go on to achieve this season, given they are second in the Premier League, in the last four of the Carabao Cup, and in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

And some of their recent success can be put down to Guardiola’s excellent recruitment during his exceptional spell in charge at the Etihad Stadium, although the decision to spend £16.2 million (as per Transfermarkt) on striker Nolito back in 2016 has proven to be a rare blunder from the City manager.

Ultimately, there was a huge amount of excitement among City fans when Guardiola took over from Manuel Pellegrini in the summer of 2016, with the Spaniard getting to work straight away by luring the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane, and John Stones to the club in a bid to take them to the next level after their fourth place finish the season before.

Yet Nolito was another one of Guardiola’s additions that summer from La Liga outfit Celta Vigo as the City boss sought to improve his forward ranks, only for the 32-year-old to struggle to get to grips with English football during his one and only season in the Premier League.

The Spain international, capped 16 times by his country, managed just six goals for the Citizens in 30 appearances in all competitions, of which four came in the Premier League and all came before the turn of the year – thus, his start wasn’t too bad, but things tailed off greatly after that.

In fact, Nolito appeared just five times in the Premier League in 2017, totalling 39 minutes of action, to underline his lowly position in Guardiola’s pecking order, with it then perhaps unsurprising that the 32-year-old left the club that summer to return to his homeland with Sevilla.

Yes, Guardiola no doubt deserves huge credit for what has been a hugely successful stint in charge of the Citizens, transforming them into one of the best teams in world football with some outstanding coaching and some very shrewd signings.

Yet the addition of Nolito will certainly go down as a rare blunder in his otherwise exceptional reign at the Etihad Stadium.

Man City fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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Article title: £16.2m deal for Nolito a rare Pep Guardiola blunder in exceptional Manchester City reign

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