Stones and Laporte were both brought to Man City for big fees | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are one of the most potent sides in the world, riddled with attacking talent. In each of the last three seasons, the Cityzens have netted the most goals in English football’s top flight.
However, it’s down the other end where they tend to struggle. The backline is a constant Achilles heel for Guardiola, prone to mistakes and capitulation.
Jamie Vardy nets in Leicester’s 5-2 victory at the Etihad | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images
Because of this, it’s no surprise that a large chunk of the City budget has gone towards the defence. Portuguese centre-back Ruben Dias has just been brought in from Benfica for a fee of £65m, taking Guardiola’s defence spending to over £400m since coming to the Etihad in 2016.
How will Dias do in the sky blue shirt? Will he be a Vincent Kompany, or an Eliaquim Mangala? That remains to be seen, but here is how Guardiola’s other defensive signings have fared at Man City.
Angelino made very little impact at the Etihad | LINDSEY PARNABY/Getty Images
After allowing him to go to PSV Eindhoven in 2018, Man City triggered a buy-back clause in Angelino’s contract to bring him back to the Etihad Stadium.
The Spaniard made just six Premier League appearances, before being loaned out to RB Leipzig.
Danilo made 60 appearances for Man City | OLI SCARFF/Getty Images
Danilo was brought in from Real Madrid, mainly to be a back-up option. And…yeah, that’s what he was. Scored a screamer against Burnley once, to be fair. Also won five trophies.
The Brazilian was later sold to Juventus.
Ake signed from relegated Bournemouth | Pool/Getty Images
Maybe it’s a bit harsh to judge Ake just yet. For all we know, he could go on to be a star at Man City. However, with Dias’ arrival, it seems increasingly likely that the 25-year-old will be nothing more than a third choice.
Cancelo arrived from Juventus with Danilo going the other way | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images
Highly rated right-back Joao Cancelo was brought to Manchester in 2019, with Danilo going in the opposite direction.
The former Juventus man has struggled for minutes at the Etihad, often playing second fiddle to Kyle Walker. However, being four years younger than Walker, the Portuguese could find himself as a first team regular.
Mendy’s time at City has been blighted by injuries | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images
Off the back of a title-winning season in Ligue 1 with Monaco, the young French left-back was brought to Man City for a hefty price.
After an encouraging start to life in England, Mendy was hit with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, keeping him out for seven months.
And that’s pretty much the story of Mendy’s Man City career: shown some promise, got injured, lengthy lay-off, repeat. Still got two Premier League medals, mind you.
Stones’ City career is nearing its end | Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images
Renowned for his ball-playing abilities, John Stones was touted to become a huge star under Guardiola’s tutelage when he arrived from Everton.
Unfortunately, things haven’t worked out the way he would’ve wanted. While often being solid, Stones is rarely spectacular and rather error prone.
It could’ve gone worse for the England international, but he has simply failed to hit the heights that were expected of him.
Walker has enjoyed a successful spell at the Etihad | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Since arriving from Tottenham Hotspur in 2017, Walker has been a regular in Guardiola’s side, featuring 146 times in all competitions.
Pacy, strong, and powerful, the 30-year-old contributes at both ends of the pitch. And, while he’s still susceptible to the odd clanger, the Englishman is often a reliable option in the right-back spot.
Laporte celebrates a goal | RICHARD HEATHCOTE/Getty Images
Undoubtedly City’s best defender, Aymeric Laporte arrived at the Etihad Stadium in January 2018 for a then-club record fee of £57m. Since then, he has gone on to become one of the most dependable centre-backs in the league.
Good on the ball, composed, strong in the air, and a good reader of the game, Laporte offers something at both ends of the pitch, scoring six goals in all competitions for the Cityzens. Man City are noticeably weaker at the back when the Frenchman is absent.