Fernandinho believes that though Manchester City have the financial capabilities to buy Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the club’s project goes beyond their sizeable budget.
Pep Guardiola’s side spent in excess of £200m this summer, bringing in squad reinforcements Kyle Walker from Spurs, Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy from Monaco and Ederson from Benfica.
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Fernandinho, who himself arrived at the Etihad from Shakhtar Donetsk for £34m in 2013, insists that though the club have the funds to secure the services of Ronaldo and Messi, City’s priorities are about building the strongest team possible as opposed to simply buying the most expensive individuals.
“Could we sign Messi or Ronaldo? I guess so, but then you have to consider the club’s priorities first. We have the financial power, everyone knows that, but there’s the priority issue that must be considered,” Fernandinho told Goal.
“Are we aiming to sign one player or to assemble a strong, competitive team to achieve our goals? Sometimes people mistake some things regarding that, thinking just one player would make up for the needs of an entire club. Maybe it’s not supposed to be like that.”
City were the highest-spending Premier League club this summer, as manager Guardiola looks to improve on last year’s disappointment of failing to bring home silverware. Performances given by recent recruits suggest City have found a winning formula; they have scored 22 goals in seven games and have only dropped points in one game, a draw against Everton, in the league so far.
Fernandinho underlines the City philosophy that the club’s priorities are about bringing in players who would only strengthen the squad.
“City have been working throughout the years to mount competitive teams and pursue titles,” he continued.
“Of course, the club made some big and strong investments in the beginning, with top-level and well-known players, but the project itself is based on having a strong team, on developing a top academy structure to reveal new players.
“The City project is much more than about signing a single player with a strong name, that would eventually cost a lot more.”
An immediate example of this investment is Gabriel Jesus, who signed for City for a fee of £27m in 2016. Since then, the 20-year-old has scored 11 goals in 16 Premier League appearances, going on to establish himself as one of the strongest young strikers in European football.
Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho was keen to highlight the 20-year-old’s bargain price tag during a climate where player transfer fees are on a permanent, exponential rise. This summer alone saw Neymar break the world-record fee of €222m, while even players like David Luiz have been slapped on with a £50m price tag – a cost that was previously unheard of for a defender.
He added: “With the market we’re facing nowadays, not only regarding the Neymar deal but also the players that arrived in England this season, a market well-known for spending huge sums.
Fernandinho said of his Brazilian teammate: “For what Gabriel has shown back in Brazil and what he’s been doing so far, I think he ended up being a real bargain for us.
“We are happy with that, because the club managed to pay little for a wonderful player with a huge future ahead of him, whose perspectives are the best possible.
“Somehow, Gabriel managed to be ‘left out’ of this transfer market madness we are all seeing nowadays.”
Manchester City are currently joint-top of the league and unbeaten after seven games. They will face Stoke City at the Etihad after the international break.
Fernandinho has a pass accuracy of 89% for Manchester City in the Premier League this season.