THE BLOG
17/02/2016 18:16 GMT | Updated 17/02/2017 05:12 GMT

Pep Guardiola Has a Lot of Work Ahead Before the Trophies Flow at Manchester City

Pep Guardiola arrives at Manchester City, it's the final piece of the jigsaw and the club goes on to win every trophy going forever more, or at least as long as the lauded Spanish coach decides to stay. That's the dream many expect to become a reality, but it's much further away than a lot of people are prepared to realise.

City have huge potential, there can be no doubt about that, but Guardiola is not walking into a club that is already set up to dominate. Quite simply, he has an awful lot of work to do to reach the level at which expectations have been set.

The 45-year-old will inherit a squad that is not currently fit to challenge in Europe, on multiple fronts, or even dominate in England as recent results and a slip to 4th place have shown. City were nailed on title favourites in the opening month of the 2015/16 season but they've massively underwhelmed in what has been a poor quality campaign for all the top clubs.

It's easy to list obvious strengths. In Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, and Vincent Kompany, fitness permitting, they have some of the best individuals in their respective positions in the Premier League. They also have a solid, albeit not truly world class goalkeeper in Joe Hart and very talented youngsters in Raheem Sterling and Kelechi Iheanacho, as well as a strong Under-21 squad and academy programme.

However, there are significant weaknesses that are easy to overlook - weaknesses that simply must be addressed if Guardiola is to have the same kind of immediate success that he's enjoyed in his managerial career up to now.

The squad is nothing like deep enough and full of deadweight as it is. Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas and Fernando don't add anything. Willy Caballero is prone to errors, Wilfried Bony, when fit, is not a suitable stand in for Aguero, and Pablo Zabaleta is slowing down. David Silva has hit 30, Bacary Sagna is 33, Martin Demichelis is 35, and Yaya Toure is a whiny shadow of the player he was just two years ago.

It's not just a case of Guardiola asking for one or two indivduals to be guaranteed the title and possibly more in 2016/17. He'll have to build at least half of a whole new squad from scratch, and that will take much longer than just one summer or indeed one year.

Then there's also the issue of figuring out how to transform two £30m+ centre-backs - Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi if you were unsure - from liabilities into players actually worthy of the huge fees that were paid for them.

Beyond the squad problems, there are questions for Guardiola as a coach. The Premier League is the challenge he wanted and as shrewd and intelligent a coach as he obviously is he will know it will be exactly that - a real test.

People are happy to consider him the best in the world without so much as a second thought, but the week to week rigours of English football will be far tougher than anything he's faced before. Guardiola had only a handful of difficult fixtures a year in Spain and the situation has proven to be similar in Germany with Bayern walking the Bundesliga yet again.

The same cannot be said for the Premier League. This season more than ever has shown that any club really is capable of beating anyone else in a way that can't be matched anywhere else in Europe's biggest leagues. Guardiola will be well aware of that from a distance, but is he really prepared for the reality at close quarters?

He made significant changes at Barcelona - putting La Masia graduates at centre stage and pushing the likes of Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and other big names out - but it helps when you're home-grown players are some the best anywhere in the world. At Bayern, he inherited a team that had reached back-to-back Champions League finals, but in the two years since even reaching just one has been too much to ask.

City have made a brilliant appointment but it's far, far too easy to assume that unprecedented levels of success will follow when you just begin to scratch below the surface.

Where Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini have failed, Pep Guardiola could well be the man that finally takes Manchester City to that elite level they crave - he certainly has an excellent chance - but it won't happen instantly and it won't be anything like as straightforward as it's currently being made out to be.

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