Pep Guardiola said Manchester City are judged differently to Chelsea when it comes to their transfer spending in recent years.
Guardiola addressed Chelsea’s spending under Todd Boehly
Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City would be under intense scrutiny from the media had they spent as much as Chelsea have in the last two years, but has no problem with the London club’s transfer approach as long as they are satisfying financial rules.
City bought Mateo Kovacic for £25m and Josko Gvardiol for £77.5m, while they recouped £30m for Riyad Mahrez and have raised over £50m from the academy this summer. Aymeric Laporte is one of a few players who could still leave.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have spent over £300m this summer, raising around £200m from sales, to take their gross spending under owner Todd Boehly to nearly £1bn in three transfer windows.
Asked if he has found the transfer market more difficult this year, Guardiola replied unprompted: “For Chelsea it is easier than us, for sure!
“I couldn’t sit here if we spent what Chelsea spent in the last two transfer windows – you would kill me. You will kill me, that is for sure. We’d be under scrutiny like you couldn’t imagine.”
Pressed on whether Chelsea’s spending bothered or surprised him, Guardiola insisted that he was not criticising them, but reiterated that their lack of scrutiny is opposite to the questions thrown at City over the years for their spending habits.
“Absolutely not, they can do what they want,” he said. “I don’t criticise Chelsea for one second. I’m saying, if we do it, we are dead, all around the world. They can do whatever they want.
“I have admiration for Todd Boehly. I met him. I’m glad they did it, of course they can do it. They can do whatever they want. If they want to spend, I don’t know, £900 million since he arrived, 900 more, 900 more. They have it. The business is the business. They sell a lot this season so they can do it.
“I don’t like when they criticise me, what we do, what I have to say. Everyone has their own business and everyone does what is best for the club. Everyone does it.”
Guardiola also suggested that City’s successes have prompted rivals to spend more to catch the Blues, with Arsenal spending big on three players to strengthen their squad, while Manchester United have spent upwards of £100m and Liverpool have spent a similar amount while also putting in a £110m bid for Moises Caicedo before he chose Chelsea.
Guardiola said: “Arsenal in three weeks spent on three incredible players because they want to beat us because our standards are there. They don’t want Man City to win again. They want top players to compete with us. First season, we didn’t win, second season kicked off, we buy 10 players – Kyle [Walker], Benja [Mendy], all the players, spent 200 million.
“But not every season we have done it but the people’s mindset has to change – everyone spends, everyone, here and Spain. Everyone spends. A lot. Not just Man City.
“They can do whatever they want. As long as the financials are correct and UEFA approve it and now we are awaiting the Premier League, what they will decide, then we can do whatever they want. They want to do the best football possible for the fans, they want to win the titles and every season get better and better.”
Guardiola previously touched on the impact of Saudi Arabia, with Riyad Mahrez joining Al Ahli for £30m and a number of other Premier League players leaving for the Saudi Pro League. With more players moving for ever-increasing transfer fees, Guardiola said that more transfer activity was positive for the sport – however much clubs may complain.
“Everybody wins. Tell me the truth: are you enjoying the transfer window?” he asked. “This player, the other one, every few months on Sky TV, a new player here, new player there. It’s so funny.
“But imagine Saudi Arabia. They finish [their transfer window] later. Imagine now them arriving ‘I want five players here.’ Everybody complains about Saudi Arabia, the clubs, then they open the door, red carpet, ‘what do you want my friend?’
“They sell everything! They are so happy. Everyone complains but everyone opens the door. Open. This league, other leagues, they are complaining about them until they make the deals. They make deals with Saudi Arabia on whatever. That is the reality.
“And step by step, not just Man City. We won because we have a lot of players, spent a lot of money, like everyone. But there is a lot of work behind the scenes. Not just money wins the treble, my friends, I’m sorry! We want to defend the cups.”