The Spain worldwide made his breakthrough at the club during Guardiola's time at Camp Nou, winning 14 trophies together and becoming one of the world's best in his position.
As fees became ever more inflated, the what-ifs provided an intriguing backdrop to the unfolding drama.
"I remember signing Alves for €37 million, everyone thought that was insane". "We are lucky because would be more expensive now".
"But go into the season with confidence and no fear, and be very much ready for the challenges ahead". Mendy's reputation is based on one excellent year at Monaco.
The Seagulls will host big-spending Manchester City for their Premier League debut on Saturday, with manager Hughton tipping Pep Guardiola's men as strong title contenders. But such was the maturity he showed during his first-team opportunities - most notably in a frenetic 1-1 draw at Manchester United in January - that there are plenty of observers who believe that regular right-back Nathaniel Clyne could soon be under pressure for his place. Every game is a battle, especially with the teams who arrive in the first four, five or six games - they are so complicated, especially away.
Lukaku was initially linked with a move to Premier League champions Chelsea before Manchester United managed to hijack the deal. At Liverpool, Salah is also embarking on his second spell in England and has impressed with four goals in pre-season friendlies.
Paul Scholes questions Chelsea's sale of Nemanja Matic to Manchester Utd
United lost 2-1 to the LaLiga giants but Mourinho remained upbeat after the Skopje encounter, picking out Matic in particular for praise.
Pep Guardiola: Premier League players £20-£25m more expensive
"My experience of being a manager, always the beginning of the season the new ones are the toughest ones", Guardiola added. We have to deal with that and handle that. "City are probably not going to know as much about us as we do about them".
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"My experience of being a manager, always the beginning of the season the new ones are the toughest ones", Guardiola added. Comparisons have been drawn to Thierry Henry, but even Arsenal's prolific striker took time to adjust to English physicality, failing to score in his first eight games after his arrival from Juventus. Intelligent players don't need time to be involved in the way we want to play. It may not see Rashford emulate the scoring exploits of his breakthrough season under Mourinho's predecessor Louis van Gaal, but he is good enough to be a big player in a campaign of high expectation at Old Trafford.
Swansea's purchase of Roque Mesa for £11 million looks a bargain for a player whose slick passing stood out for Las Palmas last season.
16 - Stoke City - Having acquired the services of Maxim Chuopo Moting from Schalke and Kurt Zouma from Chelsea, Stoke looks strong and able to survive the cut.
"While an outlay of around £120m so far suggests the champions have seriously backed their man, on closer examination the Blues have recouped nearly as much in sales and failed to address a glaringly obvious needed-for depth", says the Daily Mirror.
Against that backdrop, it would be a managerial masterstroke if Hughton can emulate Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe by keeping another modest club from England's sleepy south coast in the top flight.