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Manchester City ran away with last year’s title but Guardiola knew he needed to add with a Champions League tilt in mind

To understand how driven Pep Guardiola is to ensure Manchester City retain the title while transforming them into true Champions League contenders look no further than his acquisition of Riyad Mahrez. Last season Guardiola cast a spell over City and the Premier League. City’s sublime, hypnotic style swept them to the title by a record 19 points and left domestic rivals in catchup mode.

Yet Guardiola was not satisfied. The arch-perfectionist understood the need to improve from a position of domestic strength, while City’s Champions League quarter-final humbling by Liverpool also troubled him. He wanted to add a new dimension against home rivals who have worked City out – Liverpool’s frenetic press showed the way – and those on the continent against whom more artistry might be required.

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