Guardi­ola: City can’t af­ford Neves

Sunderland Echo - - Sport -

Pep Guardi­ola claims Ruben Neves is out of Manch­ester City’s price range.

City have been linked reg­u­larly with the Por­tuguese mid­fielder, who has been one of the stars of Wolves’ im­pres­sive first sea­son back in the Premier League.

But while City boss Guardi­ola would like to strengthen his cen­tral mid­field op­tions, he says the fig­ures be­ing men­tioned in re­la­tion to 21-yearold Neves are be­yond the cham­pi­ons.

Guardi­ola said: “A month ago I started read­ing ‘Ruben Neves, £100mil­lion’. That is not go­ing to hap­pen. We are not go­ing to pay £100mil­lion for a hold­ing mid­fielder.

“We have a limit and can­not spend more so that’s why we need to be care­ful with the play­ers and try next sea­son to see what we can do to im­prove.”

In any case, Guardi­ola has in­ti­mated he is not sure if Neves, who City face when Wolves visit the Eti­had Sta­dium tonight, would fit into his pre­ferred sys­tem.

He said: “He’s an ex­cel­lent player. It in­volves play­ing with two hold­ing mid­field­ers – not just one – but he’s an ex­cel­lent player.”

An­other player fre­quently linked with City is Ajax’s Frenkie De Jong, but Guardi­ola has re­fused to add cre­dence to the spec­u­la­tion.

He said: “I’m not talk­ing about the case of the Ajax player be­cause he is an Ajax player. I don’t talk about play­ers not here, never did and never will.”

A hold­ing mid­fielder would be a pri­or­ity for Guardi­ola be­cause City cur­rently have no nat­u­ral re­place­ment for Fer­nand­inho.

The 33-year-old Brazil­ian was badly missed as City suf­fered back-to-back de­feats over Christ­mas.

Ruben Neves.

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