Guardiola: Man City to rein in spending after record outlay
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Pep Guardiola promised Manchester City would rein in its unprecedented levels of spending after overseeing an outlay of approaching $500 million in his first year in charge.
“It is going to finish, it is unsustainable,” Guardiola said Friday, a day before the start of the Premier League season. “Of course, for the next three, four years, Manchester City is going to buy one, two players (each window).”
City’s playing staff has undergone a massive overhaul over the last two summer transfer windows after Guardiola took over one of the oldest squads in Europe.
City has spent about 200 million pounds ($260 million) this offseason, mostly on full backs Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo, to follow on from about 170 million ($207 million) last summer. The arrival of 11 “important” players — as Guardiola refers to them — has handed the Spanish coach an embarrassment of riches up in attack and fresh energy throughout his squad, which now has an average age of 24.
City is most pundits’ favorites to win the league title, after finishing 15 points behind champion Chelsea last season.
“We have spent, yes, but all the teams — with the exception of Tottenham — have spent,” Guardiola said. “We needed to do that because four or five players were out of contract. We tried to make it a young squad and we did it earlier and we are lucky because it would be more expensive now in the last weeks.
“The club was clever like that because we anticipated what we needed after last season.”
City still appears too dependent on Vincent Kompany, its injury-prone center back and captain, while a new holding midfielder to replace 34-year-old Yaya Toure will probably be Guardiola’s priority next summer.
Yet, a team featuring Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus up front and a sprinkle of attacking midfielders like Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, new signing Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling promises lots of goals this season.
Guardiola also said he was happy to have dynamic fullbacks in Walker, Mendy and Danilo to fulfil the demands he places on his wide defenders. It means he can freely switch formations from 3-5-2 and 4-3-3 this season, depending on injuries and opponents.
City is much more equipped to launch a sustained title challenge, with Guardiola close to having his ideal squad.
“That group of players is going to stay for a long time at Manchester City,” he said.
City will be without Mendy and Ilkay Gundogan for the match at promoted side Brighton on Saturday, but Guardiola said they were close to returning from injury.
Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80