Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola admitted his club could not afford Manchester United’s $143m signing Harry Maguire, and congratulated his local rivals on securing the star defender.
Maguire has been seen leaving Manchester United’s training ground as his world-record transfer from Leicester edges closer.
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City had also been interested in the England man, but Guardiola, speaking after City’s Community Shield win over Liverpool on Sunday, said the club could not afford it.
Asked if Maguire would turn United into title challengers, Guardiola said: “Yeah. Maguire is an excellent, top-class player.
“We were interested, but we could not afford it. United afford it. He’s an excellent player, national team too, he had an incredible World Cup.
“He’s strong in the air, good with the ball, the build-up, he drives with the ball, he’s fast, so fast. He has all the qualities. Congratulations to United for this signature.”
City won the first silverware of the season with a penalty shootout win over Liverpool, following an entertaining 1-1 draw at Wembley.
Having won back-to-back titles, Guardiola was asked if it would be another two-horse race with Liverpool this season, but the Catalan said United and others are always contenders at the start of the season.
“I don’t know if it will be like last season, two real contenders, I think United with Maguire and the other players, Arsenal too, Chelsea and Tottenham. I think there will be many, many contenders this time,” said Guardiola.
“I think at the beginning of the season, all six of these teams are contenders. People say we are going to win the title, that has no meaning, I don’t care. The next game (is) against West Ham.
“But for United, it doesn’t matter what happened in the last four or five years. Always, in the beginning, they are contenders to be champions of course, like Chelsea and Liverpool and whoever.”
This story originally appeared on Sky Sports and is reproduced here with permission.