Guardiola on Manchester City signings hard to beat Real Madrid Barcelona

Nuno Espirito Santo

Pep Guardiola has ruled out paying over the odds for a holding midfielder, despite Manchester City's growing need to bring in a player to rotate with and eventually replace Fernandinho.

Barcelona were pessimistic about signing the 21-year-old back then, given the amount of groundwork City had put into a deal with both De Jong and Ajax, but the player's desire to play with Lionel Messi at Camp Nou appears to have swung things in their favour, despite enduring interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

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.

"Fernandinho's role, it's so hard to find [a similar player]", he added.

Guardiola says last season's Carabao Cup game between the two sides offered all the evidence he needed to know how strong they are.


Guardiola is unsure whether the Premier League champions can wedge in a trip given their hectic schedule. But, of course, for the next season it's an important target to find. Majority are under contracts.

When put to him that Neves might be the type required Guardiola said: "He's an excellent player but there are many clubs in the world, many holding midfielders in the world, and a lot of them can play here".

"If you have no injuries and you are satisfied with the players as in our case, we decide we are going with the players we have had since the start of the season". He has incredible relationship with the Brazilian guys, like Danilo, Fernandinho, Bernardo, many, many players here. That is not going to happen. He'll be 34 and he can not play every few days. We are not going to pay £100 million for a holding midfielder. But sometimes it doesn't depend on us, you have to pay the club, pay the family and talk with the players, and with the agents, it's nuts.

Frenkie de Jong is also understood to have been one of the club's midfield targets but reports in the Spanish press suggest he is close to sealing a summer move from Ajax to Barcelona and Guardiola concedes it is becoming harder for clubs to secure their prized recruits.

Jimenez added: "Maybe the "smaller" sides know we are a very hard team to beat so they wait at the back of the pitch - that's when we have some problems". "I'm happy here, happy with my play and happy in the team".

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