The Big Match

Football: Guardiola remains coy on Sanchez move

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola gesturing during a match.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola gesturing during a match. PHOTO: REUTERS

He insists he'll focus only on controlling Chilean and that City can be defeated

LONDON • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola yesterday refused to address if he will make another move for Alexis Sanchez in January.

City will go face-to-face with a player Guardiola tried to sign in the summer when Arsenal visit the Etihad Stadium tomorrow.

The Chile forward looked set to reunite with former Barcelona coach Guardiola when Arsenal accepted a £60 million (S$107 million) bid from their Premier League rivals on deadline day.

But the deal fell through when France international and Arsenal target Thomas Lemar opted to stay at Monaco.

With Sanchez out of contract at the end of the season, speculation surrounding the 28-year-old's future has continued. But Guardiola declined to be drawn on the matter.

"He's an Arsenal player," he said. "We know the situation but now the transfer window is closed so I don't talk about that.

"He's an important player for them and we have to control him. We just focus on that."

Sanchez got his first league goal of the season earlier this month when Arsenal defeated Everton 5-2.

City have not been short of firepower. Their fluid attacking style of play is already drawing comparisons to Arsene Wenger's 2003-04 "Invincibles" Arsenal squad, who lifted the title without losing a single league game in the season.

But Guardiola insisted that City will not equal that mark.

"I would like to say to Arsene that the record belongs to his team, an exceptional team," he told a press conference yesterday.

"We don't want to break this record, we want to play well tomorrow and beat him tomorrow.

"We are beatable. I don't know when, but someone is going to beat us."

His comments came after Wenger suggested it is too early to assess a team and pointed to holders Real Madrid's 3-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League this week as an example of a sudden shift in momentum.

"It's a bit early, only 10 games played, 28 to go, that's a long way. It is difficult to extrapolate at the moment," the Frenchman said.

"They are in a good patch, but look at Real Madrid and everything that was being said about them a few weeks ago. It shows you how fragile everything is in the game."

City, however, are determined to maintain their momentum before Manchester United and champions Chelsea clash at Stamford Bridge later tomorrow.

Said City playmaker Kevin de Bruyne: "It puts pressure on the rest, it gives us a good advantage and it is always handy to have more points and to put pressure on the other people."

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2017, with the headline 'Guardiola remains coy on Sanchez move'. Print Edition | Subscribe