Guardiola, Mourinho and Wenger: Ranking the highest spending managers of the last decade

Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho

The face of football has changed forever.

That isn't a new statement, but it's one that sums up the outrageous nature of the transfer market over the last ten to fifteen years. 

We've gone from seeing the likes of Zinedine Zidane cost £48m to witnessing Harry Maguire swap Leicester for Manchester United in a deal that cost £80m. I rest my case. 

The market isn't what it used to be and nowadays, we see ludicrous sums of money thrown around for even the most average of players. Dominic Solanke for £19m springs to mind, as does the £35m Arsenal paid for Shkodran Mustafi.

That's just handpicking two players on a long list of names who have cost more than is ever reasonable. 

PSG and their Qatari led owners have been at the forefront of this market swing. They paid £200m for Neymar in 2017 and then shipped out £165.7m for Kylian Mbappe just a year later.

It's unsurprising financial fair play measures are getting stricter and stricter. 

Neymar and Mbappe

Yet, who are the managers who have spent the most money during the ever-changing market of the last ten years?

Well, we consulted Transfermarkt to put together this list of coaches...

20. Rudi Garcia - Lyon

Spent: £439.18m

The Frenchman is no stranger to a signing, making 70 acquisitions over the last decade. The most expensive of which was a deal to bring Dimitri Payet to Marseille from West Ham for a fee of £26.3m

19. Luciano Spalletti - no club

Spent: £440.53

The former Roma manager has made 49 signings in the last ten years and had the pleasure of coaching Russian side Zenit when they had plenty of money to spend. He spent £36m on both Hulk and Axel Witsel. 

18. Mauricio Pochettino - no club

Spent: £451.78m 

Linked with Manchester United in the last few weeks, Pochettino was never a great spender during his stay at Spurs, predominantly because Daniel Levy didn't let him. He went a whole window without signing a single player but did land Tanguy Ndombele for a costly £54m.

Mauricio Pochettino

17. Thomas Tuchel - PSG

Spent: £514.06m

It's no great surprise to see Tuchel on this list given he's managing oil-rich PSG. The German's most expensive signing of the last ten years is the aforementioned Mbappe. 

16. Nuno Santo - Wolves

Spent: £529.94m

This is probably the biggest surprise on this list. It's no secret that Wolves have spent a fair bit since he took charge but to think he surpasses the likes of Tuchel and Pochettino is quite something. Nuno's largest outlay was on Fabio Silva last summer.

15. Leonardo Jardim - no club

Spent: £533.65m

Jardim was manager of Monaco for a few years during a spell where they certainly weren't afraid to splash the cash. He spent £36m on Wissam Ben Yedder in 2019 and has purchased 68 players in the last decade. 

Jardim

14. Arsene Wenger - no club 

Spent: £544.68m

For years Wenger was afraid of spending big at Arsenal. They endured a considerable period of time paying off their stadium debts for the Emirates but in his latter years, he did finally get the cheque book out. The legendary Frenchman's most expensive signing was Pierre Emerick-Aubemyang for £57m.

13. Brendan Rodgers - Leicester

Spent: £554.27m

The 47-year-old is still relatively new to management given his age but he is no stranger to spending vast sums of money. He was the man to bring Roberto Firmino to Liverpool for £36.9m while his biggest signing at Leicester has been Youri Tielemans. He was, however, the poor unfortunate soul to spend over £40m on Christian Benteke. Cripes. 

12. Roberto Mancini - no club (Managing Italy)

Spent: £572.03m

Mancini has had an illustrious management career and has signed 58 players in the last decade. The highest fee he spent was on Sergio Aguero - £36m - when he was in charge of Man City. What a piece of business that turned out to be. 

Roberto Mancini

11. Maurizio Sarri - no club

Spent: £579.61m

The 61-year-old has only signed 35 players during the time frame in question which makes his accumulative spend even more ridiculous. Sarri's biggest transfer was Matthijs de Ligt at Juventus for £76m.

10. Jurgen Klopp - Liverpool

Spent: £624.67m

What Klopp has built at Liverpool from where they were when he took over has been nothing short of incredible. He has made them one of the most feared forces in Europe and it's only in recent years that he's gone crazy on the spending front. His two most expensive players are Virgil van Dijk and Alisson. 

9. Manuel Pellegrini - Real Betis

Spent: £692.10m 

Pellegrini's managerial career has been a strange one but he's had the pleasure of coaching some of the very best in the business at the likes of Real Madrid and Man City. Famously, he was the manager that brought Cristiano Ronaldo to Madrid for a then world-record fee of £80m.

8. Ernesto Valverde - no club

Spent: £731.93m

Barcelona's spending has been rather questionable in recent years and nothing epitomises that more than Valverde's biggest signings. He was the manager to bring both Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele to Camp Nou for over £100m.

Ernesto Valverde

7. Unai Emery - Villarreal 

Spent: £742.64m

Emery has received the sack at Arsenal and PSG but has rejuvenated his managerial career in Spain with Villarreal who are currently second in La Liga. That doesn't excuse the £72m he spent on Nicolas Pepe when he was in England, though.  

6. Antonio Conte - Inter Milan

Spent: £834.48m

Conte has made some intriguing signings in Milan but nothing tops the £66m he handed to Man United for the signing for Romelu Lukaku. Unfortunately, when Conte spends big it usually doesn't turn out well. Michy Batshuayi, Danny Drinkwater, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata all feature in his top ten. He did sign N'Golo Kante for Chelsea, however.

5. Diego Simeone - Atletico Madrid 

Spent: £875.63m

Atletico is well and truly Simeone's empire. He has built a fabulous side in the Spanish capital and has spent a fair whack along the way. No signing was bigger than the ludicrous sum of £113m he paid for Joao Felix.

Diego Simeone

4. Max Allegri - no club

Spent: £924.90m

Juventus were well famed for picking up a canny free transfer when Allegri was in charge, but as the evidence suggests, he also spent an astonishing amount of cash. The Italian's largest outlay was on Ronaldo when he left Real for Turin in a deal worth £99m.

3. Carlo Ancelotti - Everton

Spent: £939.48m

Ancelotti has turned Everton into a Premier League force using all the managerial experience he's accumulated at the likes of Milan, Chelsea, Madrid and Bayern Munich. However, the Italian's biggest deal of the last ten years was the £90m Real spent on Gareth Bale. Incredible. 

2. Jose Mourinho - Tottenham

Spent: £1.04bn

Mourinho has managed some of the richest clubs in world football so it's no great surprise to see him so high on this list. He is just one of two men to spend over £1bn in the last ten years, with Paul Pogba and Lukaku marking his two most-expensive acquisitions. 

1. Pep Guardiola - Manchester City

Spent: £1.14bn 

Who else? Only one man was going to take the top spot on this list and it's Guardiola. The Man City manager has spent a mindblowing £408m on defenders alone in the last four years and knows only one way when it comes to the transfer window.

Pep Guardiola

The Spaniard's biggest signing of the last decade was the staggering £65m City spent to bring Ruben Dias to the Etihad from Benfica.

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