Saturday 21 April 2018

Pep refuses to give up on Sanchez


Pep Guardiola, manager of Manchester City. Photo: Getty Images
Pep Guardiola, manager of Manchester City. Photo: Getty Images

James Ducker

Pep Guardiola has refused to rule out a January move for Alexis Sanchez but insisted there was "zero chance" of him allowing Raheem Sterling to leave Manchester City last month as part of a deal for the Arsenal striker.

Guardiola also confirmed that Vincent Kompany would miss today's lunchtime's clash with Liverpool.

City failed with a bid of £60 million for Sanchez 24 hours before the close of the summer transfer window after Guardiola rejected Arsenal's request to sign Sterling in part-exchange and then Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar turned down a move to the Emirates Stadium, despite the French champions accepting a £92 million offer. But Guardiola would not rule out another move for Sanchez in the January window, when he will have six months left on his deal with Arsenal.

"We were interested in him [Sanchez] but in the end Arsenal decided not to sell," the City manager said. "Sometimes deals work, sometimes not. Arsenal wanted to make a swap with Raheem. They talked to me and I said no chance, zero chance, not even one per cent chance."

Asked if City could bid again in January, Guardiola added: "We will see in the future. We will see next time round. I don't know what will happen in the winter time. He is an Arsenal player."

Kompany took a knock to the knee during Belgium's game against Gibraltar last Thursday and then felt his knee tighten in training before Sunday's match in Greece and Guardiola admitted the defender would not be fit enough to face Liverpool.

Kompany had played in 11 successive competitive games for City dating back to the end of last season - his longest injury-free run at City for three years - but his latest setback will raise fears about a recurrence of his long-standing calf and muscle problems.

"I do not think he will be available," Guardiola said of Kompany. "I am sad. The last seven eight, nine games last season he played no problem. Pre-season, we took care of him and he played all three games. Now, unfortunately, we've lost him, but we will try and get him fit as soon as possible."

Kompany's injury again raises questions about the wisdom of City's failure to recruit a centre-half in the summer, with the club unable to prise Jonny Evans from West Bromwich Albion. Guardiola admitted he needs another central defender but said he will call upon Eliaquim Mangala, the France defender whom City were stuck with after he rejected moves to West Brom and Crystal Palace, and youngster Tosin Adarabioyo.

"The window is over. We thought we might need another one but we have Mangala, and Tosin and other players who can play that position," Guardiola said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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