Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Sports | By Juana Wells

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

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

City - who are second in the Premier League behind Liverpool ahead of Monday's clash against Wolves - have also been linked with Ruben Neves to provide cover for holding midfielder Fernandinho.

"I don't know what happened, he didn't speak to me, so I don't know what happened", said the City boss.

The 33-year-old Brazilian has become one of the most important players in City's line-up during Guardiola's three seasons at the club, with his hard work and passing ability as a holding midfielder providing both security in front of the defence and scope for the team to attack. But I'm not talking about the case of the Ajax player because he is an Ajax player. "He'll be 34 and can not play every few days".

A holding midfielder would be a priority for Guardiola because City now have no natural replacement for Fernandinho. Guardiola tried to sign Jorginho from Napoli to fulfil that role last summer but the player opted to join Chelsea instead.

"A month ago, I started reading: 'Ruben Neves, £100 million ($129 million, 112 million euros)'". There are many clubs in the world, many holding midfielders in the world, and a lot of them can play here. Of course, 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. But we can not do it every season. "I don't talk about players not here, never did and never will".

"The most expensive one was Riyhad [Mahrez, £60m last summer] and he earns far away from what the top teams pay".

In the meantime, Guardiola will hope Ilkay Gundogan can fill in if needed.

"The system at Wolves involves playing with two holding midfielders, not just one". It looks simple but it's not simple.

Guardiola said he had not spoken to Kevin De Bruyne after the Belgium worldwide went straight down the tunnel after being substituted in the 9-0 Carabao Cup thrashing of Burton Albion.

"If he has a problem he knows where I am, so I don't know, really".

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