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Gary Neville comments show Pep Guardiola out-thought Jurgen Klopp on transfer mindset

Darwin Nunez was sent off for a headbutt on Monday night, while Erling Haaland continues to shine.

Manchester City have consistently advanced under Pep Guardiola, and even Gary Neville and his traffic light system would struggle to put a stop to that legendary tenure. Almost everything Guardiola has touched in his illustrious managerial career has turned to gold – or, at the very least, goals.

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On Monday night, Neville took the stage in the Sky Sports studio to rate the transfers made by his beloved Manchester United since legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson left the club following their most recent title win in 2013. Even for a man as devoted to Manchester United as Neville, there was too much red.

Only two signings – Bruno Fernandes and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – fit into the green category, which pretty much sums up how the tables have flipped in this famous footballing city. If he had been forced to rank Guardiola’s business since his arrival in 2016, he might not have needed the failure category at all.

Whatever funds Guardiola has at his disposal, spending power is abundant throughout the Premier League, and as Neville points out, this does not guarantee quality recruitment. City and Liverpool have excelled there while establishing a trophy duopoly, though Guardiola appears to have surpassed Jurgen Klopp this summer.

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City won the goal-scoring lottery after beating Liverpool to a fourth title in five seasons by signing Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool responded with their own high-profile move for Darwin Nunez, as every move made by those two is scrutinized through a microscope.

However, one significant difference can be seen with the naked eye. Neville’s comments emphasize it even more, as Haaland looks to capitalize on his three-game lead in the race for this season’s Golden Boot.

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“I can’t see how he’s [Haaland] going to be anything other than sensational. There is maybe a small chance that for some reason, Haaland’s style doesn’t suit City or City’s style doesn’t suit Haaland, there’s a small chance… Those risks that you ordinarily talk about with a big signing [aren’t there]. For me, it can’t not work.”

Neville waxed lyrical about Haaland before the Norway striker had even kicked-off in the Premier League. But while he was unable to make a mark against Liverpool in the Community Shield – as Nunez scored – the Sky Sports pundit was firm in his assessment and that ‘guarantee’ was upheld on Monday night.

He might well have put Haaland into the green category first up, even before his double against West Ham on the opening day, while Nunez saw red for Liverpool in a flash-point which gives City an early advantage in the title race. Guardiola and his star-studded group already have a four-point lead on Liverpool after two games…

Of course, there is far too long to go to say that will have any bearing on the battle for Premier League supremacy, but Haaland does have a leg up in his own quest. His three-game run to potentially fill his boots comes as Liverpool set about making up for lost ground without the man brought in to spearhead their own ambitions.

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Neville added: “It’s a moment of madness isn’t it? We saw in the first couple of games he’s combative. It’s a problem now because next week [he won’t play] and then they’ll miss him for a couple of games.”

Despite an under-par start from Liverpool, their rivalry with City shows little signs of slowing up and rating Haaland against Nunez will provide an interesting subplot over the coming seasons. However, on first impression, Klopp has something glaring to work on with the combative Uruguayan and Guardiola can simply put all his focus into shaping his City team to allow Haaland to do what Haaland does best. As claimed by Neville, there are few if any risks.

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