Saturday 14 December 2019

Revealed: Man City boss Pep Guardiola on why his club pulled out of the race for Alexis Sanchez

Pep Guardiola, right, will not be reunited with Alexis Sanchez, left, at Manchester City
Pep Guardiola, right, will not be reunited with Alexis Sanchez, left, at Manchester City

Andy Hampson

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City's future stability was more important than signing Alexis Sanchez.

The Premier League leaders pulled out of the race for the wantaway Arsenal forward this week because of the spiralling costs involved.

That cleared the way for arch-rivals Manchester United to move for the Chile international, with reports suggesting they are prepared to pay the player close to £500,000 per week in wages and other bonuses.

That would be on top of a player-exchange deal believed to be the equivalent of a £35million transfer fee, as well as agents' charges.

City may be among the richest clubs in the world, and have been willing to pay top-market rates in the past, but they baulked at those figures.

Guardiola has no complaints about the club's decision, accepting that it could have created a difficult precedent.

The City manager said: "Normally we try to be stable with the wages of the players because I think it is good for the team and stability of the club. In the past, what the club did, was at that price.

"What happened last summer, everything increased amazingly. You have to adapt to that. I think the price in the summertime will be higher than this winter. Sometimes you have to anticipate that.

"We've spent a lot of money, we can't deny that, but I've never put pressure on a club when they believe it is too much. Immediately I accept that decision and move forward to find another solution. The stability of the club is the most important thing."

City were close to signing Sanchez last August after having an offer potentially worth up to £60million accepted by the Gunners.

It is understood they were convinced he still wanted to join them but preferred to wait until he was due to come out of contract at the end of the season.

With Sanchez keen to leave Arsenal in the current window they did reconsider but ultimately did not want to get into a bidding war and the 29-yer-old now seems destined for Old Trafford.

Guardiola, who worked with Sanchez at Barcelona, claimed there were no hard feelings.

Speaking at a press conference, the Spaniard said: "It's not the first time it happened in my career, that I wanted a player and they decided to move on to another club. It's going to happen in the future. They decide to go there or wherever, so well done. No problem."

Guardiola, whose side host Newcastle on Saturday, even went as far as to congratulate United for what now appears a certain transfer.

He said: "I'm not the guy with the mathematics, with the numbers. What I know now is he is still Arsenal's player, but I think he is going to go to United.

"So, congratulations for both of them. The players and their managers (agents) decide where they want to play. Good luck."

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