Thursday, 17 January, 2019

City can't afford £100m Ruben Neves, says Pep Guardiola

Sergio Aguero Manchester City 2018-19 Getty Images
Kristopher Love | 14 January, 2019, 11:13

Guardiola said: "It's not easy to find the specific quality of the players".

City are prepared to pay about £70 million all told for De Jong but face serious competition from front-runners Barcelona and Paris St-Germain for the 21-year-old Netherlands midfielder. Normally when you are involved with Madrid and Barcelona you are going to lose.

Wolves midfielder and Portugal worldwide Neves has impressed following the club's promotion, however, Guardiola insisted City can not afford the 21-year-old amid talk of a £100million fee.

Neves, whose Wolves side visit the Etihad on Monday, tends to play as one of two holding midfielders, whereas Fernandinho performs that role on his own in the City line-up. Guardiola tried to sign Jorginho from Napoli to fulfil that role last summer but the player opted to join Chelsea instead.

"There are players who can play in that role but, specifically Fernandinho's role, it's so hard to find". But, of course, for the next season it's an important target to find. Of course, in all departments in the club, we have in every position four or five or six options - depending on age, what we believe and, of course, the price. Our wage bill for the players is eighth or ninth or 10th in Europe, so there are eight or nine clubs where the wages are higher than Manchester City pay. 'After Wigan beat us in the FA Cup we had time previous year.

"You have to pay the club, pay the family and talk with the players, and with the agents, it's nuts".

"But of course we cannot substitute the mother and, when the family can't be there, it's hard".

Guardiola said: "Gundogan played the last two games like a holding midfielder".

"No, I didn't speak with him", Guardiola said. "That's why they are doing incredibly well in the Premier League". It looks simple but it's not simple.

The manager said City would do everything they can to help Gabriel Jesus after close relatives including his mother, Vera Lucia Diniz de Jesus, returned to Brazil.

'I think it won't be a problem for the next months'. "It's complicated, so so complicated".