The Man City coach Pep Guardiola has hit out at critics of Manchester City’s heavy spending and says it shows their owners want to invest in the club rather than take money out.
Champions City begin the new season at Spurs on Sunday having landed Jack Grealish for a record £100million with an even bigger offer ready for Harry Kane.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has commented on City and Chelsea’s budgets compared to his own, complaining: ‘We are allowed to spend the money we earn… they obviously don’t have any limits.’
The remarks irked Guardiola, who fired back that providing City stay within Financial Fair Play rules, the owners can spend what they choose on players rather than keeping it for themselves.
‘Some owners want to benefit, our owners don’t want any benefits. So they don’t invest in the team, while we invest what we can,’ he said.
‘Before there were only one or two clubs. Now there is Chelsea with [Roman] Abramovich and our club with Sheikh Mansour. They want to be buying into football. What is the problem? We have limits for Financial Fair Play and if they don’t agree [with City’s spending] they can go to court and make a statement
‘We bought Jack Grealish because we sold [players] for £60m so in the end we have spent £40m. We follow absolutely the rules. At our club, the owners don’t want to lose money of course but they want to spend, so we can do it.
‘Years ago, when Manchester United won a lot of titles, it was because they spent more money than other clubs. Do you remember that? At that moment Man City couldn’t do it because we did not have the owners we have now.’
This strong reaction from Guardiola will be perceived as a dig back at Liverpool, whose chairman John W Henry has not released similar funds for Klopp, and United where the Glazer ownership received £23m in dividends in 2019-20.
The City boss, who won the Champions League at Barcelona with seven academy graduates including Lionel Messi, indicated Liverpool should look at themselves to see why they are not spending.
‘You can win from investment. Liverpool were able to go into the market to spend on two incredible players (Virgil van Dijk and Alisson) and they won the Champions League and Premier League.
‘If they don’t want to spend more it’s maybe because they believe they don’t need it or because the owners, they don’t want it. I don’t know. I’m not there.’
A trip to Tottenham isn’t the easiest start for City, who are without the injured Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden and without any pre-season games for a lot of their Euro 2020 players, although Guardiola is hoping the Euros will have given Raheem Sterling a boost.
‘He has his standards; a desire to be the best,’ admitted Guardiola. ‘Last season was really good for the group which is our main target but of course Raz [Sterling] didn’t play as much in the last part of the season. Riyad [Mahrez] was in incredible form and Phil [Foden] was unstoppable.
‘But he [Sterling] had a key role at the Euros, scoring goals, making assists. I think all our players did well individually at the tournament. We are pleased, hopefully they have rested well and start again.’
Discussion for possible transfer with Spurs over Kane are set to continue after Sunday’s game with Guardiola insistent that last season’s triumph won’t count for anything given the competition in this season’s title race with Champions League winners Chelsea adding £97m Romelu Lukaku.
‘We were champions but we start from zero again. City and Liverpool have raised the bar and that’s what we have to do every season. Look at Leicester, fantastic. Then there is Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, United, Liverpool and ourselves who can be competitive.’
‘We know we are still a way away from our best condition. We could not have a pre-season for 75 or 85 per cent of the players. It was similar last season and we had success because we did not cry. I am pretty sure we are going to travel to London to win, that is for sure.’ said Guardiola