Pep Guardiola: ‘Not even Manchester City can afford 22 top players’

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Pep Guardiola: ‘Not even Manchester City can afford 22 top players’

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has stressed that no football team can afford “22 top players”.

The Premier League leaders spent £215m last summer and, according to a ranking by event organiser Soccerex, have more financial firepower than any other club in world football.

Earlier in January, however, Man City pulled out of the race to sign Chile forward Alexis Sanchez, who ended up leaving Arsenal to join rivals Manchester United instead.

Sanchez is thought to be earning more than £350,000 per week at Old Trafford, and City were reportedly unwilling to agree to demands that would have made him the highest-paid player in their squad.

“When you want to handle four competitions sometimes you have to be lucky with injuries,” Guardiola told Sky Sports News. “Otherwise you need 22 top players for every position. People don’t believe this, but today 22 top players is too expensive to buy, even [for] City.

“Their salaries we cannot pay. There are budgets for the transfers and we cannot pay. In the future, it may change but we haven’t paid more than £80m-£100m for one player. We cannot pay that right now, it is the truth.

“That’s why we need the academy to fight. Of course, we spend a lot money but it is the same money as a lot of other teams. I can assure you we are not the only team in the world that spend money.”

City have reportedly agreed a deal to sign Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte after matching his £57m release clause, which would break the club’s transfer record of £55m spent on Kevin De Bruyne.