City to tone down splurge after spree

A corner flag is seen ahead of the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 16, 2017.
A corner flag is seen ahead of the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 16, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

Pep seeks to consolidate in next few seasons, citing 'unsustainable' prices to curb spending

LONDON • Manchester City may be one of the biggest spenders in this summer's transfer window, but manager Pep Guardiola has said that the club will try to curb their investment in new players in the next few years.

"Hopefully, next season I will be here and we are not going to spend like how we have this season," the 46-year-old said yesterday at a pre-match conference ahead of his side's Premier League opener away to Brighton today.

"The high transfer prices, I think sooner or later it will end. It's unsustainable."

Fortified by City's £200 million (S$353 million) overhaul, Guardiola is under pressure to ensure his second season in the Premier League is far more successful than his torrid first.

The Spaniard had a troubled debut campaign at City, as he failed to win a trophy for the first time in his storied managerial career.

City finished in third place, 15 points behind Premier League champions Chelsea, crashed out of the Champions League against Monaco and failed to reach either of the domestic Cup finals.

However, the City hierarchy had always intended to give Guardiola time to reload and a pre-season spree has put him in position to get it right this time.

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The high transfer prices, I think sooner or later it will end. It's unsustainable... In the next few years, City will buy one, two, maybe three players. The current players will stay for the future.

PEP GUARDIOLA, Manchester City manager, feels that wholesale rebuilding at the club will no longer be necessary.

That rebuilding work has involved spending big on five major signings:

•Danilo (£26.5 million)

•Ederson (£34.7 million)

•Benjamin Mendy (£52 million)

•Bernardo Silva (£43.6 million)

•Kyle Walker (£45 million)

Guardiola insisted his new signings are all young (the average age of the quintet is 24.4) and are promising players for the future, therefore there is little worry about finding replacements for ageing players.

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"In the next few years, City will buy one, two, maybe three players. The current players will stay for the future," he said.

The City manager also refused to talk about his side's chances for the new season.

"We were favourites last season but we missed out by 15 points in the end, so being favourites this season means nothing," Guardiola said.

"We are here to win the games. I am honest in my job and I will do my best. I feel the same pressure. Every game is complicated."

Mendy will be absent today with a thigh injury, while Silva may start on the bench, with only a short pre-season under his belt after helping Portugal to the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

Guardiola could start with Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero up front, given that he has used a 3-5-2 set-up for much of pre-season, which suggests Walker and Danilo are to be deployed as wing-backs.

The formation allows for an extra man in midfield, which has proved to City's advantage in warm-up victories over Tottenham, Real Madrid and West Ham.

"We feel ready because we've been at a good level but we have nothing to show for it at the moment," said City captain Vincent Kompany.

"Keep doing what we've done in the last three games and it should be exciting."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2017, with the headline 'City to tone down splurge after spree'. Print Edition | Subscribe