Pep Guardiola is often revered for giving opportunities to youngsters and improving their game. However, at Manchester City, he has not promoted youngsters and many of the club’s promising youth graduates have moved elsewhere for first-team opportunities.
#5. Pablo Maffeo – Sold to VfB Stuttgart for £8 million in 2018
While Jurgen Klopp has promoted Trent-Alexander Arnold as Liverpool’s first-choice right-back and Mauricio Pochettino has given opportunities to Kyle Walker-Peters, players from the academy of the respective clubs, Pep Guardiola splurged £76.5 million on Kyle Walker and Danilo in 2017.
Guardiola can be forgiven for signing Walker but instead of spending a hefty fee for a backup full-back, he could have given chances to Pablo Maffeo who came through the Man City academy.
Maffeo helped Girona earn promotion to the La Liga in 2017 and was loaned out to the same club again for the 2017/18 season making 33 La Liga appearances and earning praise for his performance against Lionel Messi.
In 2018, the player was sold to Bundesliga club, VfB Stuttgart, for £8 million and it was Guardiola who advised the player to move to Germany.
#4. Angelino – Sold to PSV Eindhoven for €5 million in 2018
One weak spot in the current Manchester City squad is the left-back position. Benjamin Mendy is the only recognised left-back in the squad and consistent injuries to the Frenchman has forced Guardiola to play Fabian Delph, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Danilo and even Aymeric Laporte out of position.
If Guardiola opted to hold on to one of City’s promising youth graduates, Angelino, then he would have had a good option to use as a backup to Mendy at least.
Angelino has played thrice for the Man City first team in three different cup competitions but he has spent most of his time with the first team on loan at New York City, Girona, Mallorca and NAC Breda.
The Spanish full-back was impressive during his spell on loan in the Eredivisie with Breda and it earned him a summer move to Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven for whom he’s now a regular starter. He also made his Spain U21 debut in 2018.
#3. Angus Gunn – Sold to Southampton for £13.5 million in 2018
Guardiola is very specific about what he expects from his goalkeepers and that’s why he sidelined Joe Hart and Hart’s replacement, Claudio Bravo, for Ederson Moraes. However, he could have at least given Manchester City’s academy product, Angus Gunn, a chance to play for the first team as the second choice goalkeeper this season.
Gunn was regarded as the long-term replacement for Joe Hart in the first team but any such hope was dashed after Guardiola’s arrival. The young Englishman spent the 2017/18 season on loan at Norwich City and played 51 games across all competitions. He was so impressive for the Canaries that Premier League clubs lined up for his signature in the summer with Southampton eventually sealing a deal.
The 22-year-old started the season as an understudy to Alex McCarthy but he recently made his Premier League debut for the Saints and he could be the future number one for both club and country.
#2. Brahim Diaz – Sold to Real Madrid for £15.5 million in 2019
Manchester City spent a fortune to establish world-class facilities at their academy and as a result, many promising players came through the academy. Three of them, Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho and Brahim Diaz, were widely expected to be first-team players for the club but only Foden remains at the club and even he rarely gets to play under Guardiola.
Diaz was awarded the Premier League winners’ medal last season but he only played 50 minutes for City in five substitute appearances. The lack of game time bothered the Spaniard even after he scored a brace against Fulham in a League Cup match earlier this season.
The Spaniard refused to extend his Man City contract which was due to expire at the end of the ongoing season and instead signed for Real Madrid in January. He has been a Real Madrid player for only ten days but he has already played thrice for the Los Blancos which is one less than the number of appearances he made for City in the first half of the season.
#1. Jadon Sancho – Sold to Borussia Dortmund for £8 million in 2017
The biggest mistake of Pep Guardiola’s stint as Manchester City manager was letting one of England’s biggest prospects leave the club because he couldn’t provide the playing time the player wanted and deserved.
During the summer of 2017, Sancho was omitted from City’s squad for the preseason as there were disputes over assurances of playing time in a new contract. As a result, he left the club and moved to Borussia Dortmund as a first team player taking the number seven kit left vacant by Ousmane Dembele.
Sancho took half a season to settle into a new club and league, but he still racked up a goal and four assists in 684 minutes in his first season. This season, he has established himself as a key first team player ahead of Chelsea’s £58 million signing, Christian Pulisic.
The 18-year-old has seven goals and nine assists for Dortmund in 24 games across all competitions and this led to a maiden call-up to the England squad.
Sancho’s impressive performance outside the Premier League has caught the eye of many promising young English players and now, more and more players are opting to leave the country to get first-team opportunities.