5) Marc Andre Ter Stegen
The German shotstopper has come a long way since joining the Catalans from Gladbach. Then touted as a potential top goalkeeper, Ter Stegen has indeed lived up to that and is now Barca’s undisputed no 1. Despite spending majority of his first season with Barca on the fringes playing only in the cup competitions, Ter Stegen’s performances and potential did not go unnoticed at the Etihad where Pep Guardiola had been on the search for a goalkeeper after Hart’s inability to play out from the back. However, the German reiterated his desire to make it at Barca declining City’s offer. City instead bought Bravo from Barcelona, who endured a horrible season in England.
4) Dani Alves
Another aspect of the Guardiola philosophy is that the full backs need to be as good going forward as they must be defensively. This always does shortlist the players who would suit Guardiola system. So when it was clear that Zabaleta no longer had the legs to play in a Guardiola system, Pep sought out to reunite with one of the all time greatest full backs in Dani Alves, with whom Pep had worked with at Barca. Alves was then plying his trade in Italy with Juve but did nothing to stop those rumours. Eventually, the move did not happen due to some demands and Alves ended up at PSG.
3) Virgil Van Djik
Virgil Van Djik has been at Liverpool for only year but it feels like forever. It is hard to remember that this same team Van Djik less could not stop conceding goals and were known to have the ability to outscore their opponent rather than holding on. And now, it seems like Liverpool just won’t concede. Majority of that credit has to go to Van Djik, who almost single-handedly has solved Liverpool’s defensive troubles. Considering the form, even a fee of 75 million feels like a bargain. The same amount for the Dutchman whilst at Southampton last year this time was considered too expensive by Pep Guardiola.
2) Alexis Sanchez
Sanchez’s future, very much like Van Djik, was the hotly contested debate last year this time. It was clear that the Chilean would not be staying at Arsenal therefore it was worth watching where he would end up. Pep Guardiola who had worked with Sanchez at Barca was very much interested in his services and for a while, it looked like Sanchez would indeed re-unite with the Spaniard before Jose Mourinho stepped in and against all odds, United signed Sanchez. Guardiola and the City hierarchy admitted in City’s Amazon Prime documentary that the club were keen on the winger but the financial dynamics of the transfer ultimately proved too much for City.
The closest thing to Andrea Pirlo in world football is Jorginho. The Brazil born Italian has the same attributes like the legendary Pirlo. He is quick with the ball at his feet, quick in his mind and has the technical quality to make decisive passes. Perhaps nobody quite saw Jorginho settle in so seamlessly in England. He is already an indispensable figure at the Stamford Bridge. Jorginho was long linked with a move to City in a role which would have been perfect for him, playing at the base of Guardiola’s midfield three. However, Sarri’s decision to join Chelsea ultimately proved decisive as Jorginho was quick to decide that he would follow his manager to England.