Pep Guardiola won't repeat Arsenal transfer risk he never allowed with Liverpool

Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have faced each other for the final time in charge of Liverpool and Man City respectively.
Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have faced each other for the final time in charge of Liverpool and Man City respectively. -Credit:Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

When Jürgen Klopp has left Liverpool and his tenure is looked back on as a whole, there will be a number of things that define it. He was the man to end the wait for a league title; he won the Champions League in Madrid; and he formed a bond with the Anfield support that goes beyond anything seen for half a century.

The Klopp era will also be remembered for the battles that he had with Manchester City and Pep Guardiola, though. With much fewer resources, the German was able to challenge the Etihad side far more than his one league title might suggest. Without Liverpool, Manchester City would be aiming for a seventh title in a row, not a fourth.

At its best, the perfection that Manchester City needed to show to win was driven by Liverpool. Under Klopp, the Reds got to 99 points when they won the league and 97 and 92 when they came second. These were the two best teams in the world and there was no chance that either was going to cede any ground to the other.

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This time, Liverpool has fallen away in the title reckoning, leaving the task of stopping Manchester City or, rather, hoping that Guardiola's side somehow slips up — to Arsenal. And yet, it was only two years ago that Manchester City was happy to sell players to the Emirates outfit as Mikel Arteta's project began.

In the summer of 2022, Manchester City sold both Gabriel Jesus ($57m/£45m/€52m) and Oleksandr Zinchenko ($38m/£30m/€35m) to North London. With Liverpool well off the boil in the season that followed, it was Arteta's side that came closest to spoiling the title procession.

Selling that duo to Arsenal was something of a risk, though Guardiola was proven right in the end. Manchester City was able to win the title last season and while the Gunners have improved since, it is not because of either purchase from their title rival.

This week, The Athletic has reported that Arsenal would be willing to cash in on Jesus to fund a move for another forward this summer. Zinchenko, meanwhile, hasn't made it off the bench in three of the Gunners' last four league games. It does, after all, stand to reason that if you buy squad players from another team, you aren't likely to catch them.

Arsenal is now in the bracket that Liverpool has always been under Klopp. The last player to move from Manchester City to Anfield was James Milner (the summer before Klopp arrived), and even he was a free agent so his former employer could do nothing about the destination that he selected.

Under Klopp, there was never any chance of Manchester City selling to Liverpool just in case it came back to back them. Now, with Arteta's work at Arsenal having been so successful, the Gunners surely fall into the same category.