Guardiola opens up on Cancelo’s surprise Man City exit and how he plans to replace him

Pep Guardiola has opened up on Joao Cancelo’s surprise exit from Manchester City after the defender’s deadline day move to Bayern Munich.

Cancelo has signed for Bayern Munich on loan until the end of the season and the Bundesliga champions possess an option to make the move permanent for a fee of €70m (£62m).


The Portugal international has been a key figure for Guardiola in recent seasons and was named in the PFA Team of the Year in each of the past two campaigns. However, he had fallen out of favour in recent weeks and Guardiola has opened up on Cancelo’s exit.

“First, I wish him the very best in his four months. Next season I don’t know what happens,” he told his pre-match press conference ahead of City’s trip to Tottenham.

“An incredible figure in the last two leagues we won. After the World Cup, we make a pre-season and decided to play, in some patterns different. I like what I watch. I give more time to other players. His personality, mine, he loves to play. He trains the best, the situation he doesn’t play much. In the last years one of the players with more minutes. He needs to play to be happy, we decide to let him go to Munich.

“If Bayern Munich want Joao it’s because he’s an exceptional player. I won’t say a bad word. His work ethic, passion, skills. Everyone knows it. It happens one or two days before the window. Always I’m pleased with the squad. Being not sure, it’s better to have the money in the bank and don’t be criticised to spend more.”

Guardiola was asked whether City had discussed signing a late replacement for Cancelo at left-back, but said he was keen to wait until the summer and assess the market.

“We talked, but took three minutes. I said do you have something, Txiki said no. I said wait.

“We could go to the market and pay huge amount of money. I prefer a few months until the end of the season we can do it without. In the summer we see.”

The Spaniard spoke on his options at left-back and believes City have the required cover, with centre-back duo Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte having previously featured at full-back.

“Nathan cannot play all games. Aymeric can play there, Rico (Lewis) can play there, of course Sergio (Gomez).

“We can handle the situation in all departments. I trust the players. If I had the feeling, I’d say to my bosses we should do this. With Akanji, I said we should have another central defender. Nathan was injured, Ruben too, John. We had this opportunity. In this case completely different.”

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