Manchester City midfielder Pep Guardiola has revealed the reason the club did not strengthen their defensive options in the summer transfer window.
The Premier League champions were linked with signing a new centre-back following the departure of long-serving club captain Vincent Kompany, though failed to secure the signing of a defender during the summer.
Leicester’s Harry Maguire was a target before his eventual world-record move to Manchester United, and Guardiola admits the Man City could not afford to match their rivals in search of a new defender.
“We could not buy like the opponents or teams offer us or ask for these players,” he said, as per the Manchester Evening News.
“The club works incredibly well in all departments and sometimes we cannot afford it like other teams afford it and that is all. We pay a lot of money for a lot of players, that is why we have a depth of squad with huge quality but we cannot do, the club tell me, you have a limit, you cannot go forward. Maybe in the future but not now, you cannot do it. I say, ok, you cannot do it so we cannot do it, so we are going with what we have.
“People believe still, of course we spent a lot two seasons ago but last season [we signed] one player, this season a little bit more so we could not pay the money wanted but we have an alternative and sometimes when that happens, the team unites better and we are going to find solutions to do that.”
City’s lack of defensive options has been further heightened by a serious-looking injury to Aymeric Laporte. The 25-year-old was stretchered off during last weekend’s win over Brighton and looks set for an extended period on the sidelines, with midfielder Fernandinho likely to have to deputise in central defence.
Guardiola admits the Brazilian will have to learn quickly as he adjusts to an unfamiliar position, but is confident the 34-year-old can adapt to the new role in the coming weeks.
“He needs some processes defensively but he is intelligent and has a lot of experience and we will see,” the City boss said.
“We will work – unfortunately now we cannot because it is the international break but we are going to work on it and we need him in this position because right now we have John and Nico and Dinho and Eric Garcia, or Taylor Bellis (Harwood-Bellis), two young guys in the academy who is going to help us to do that.”