Pep Guardiola insists he won’t be signing any new defenders in January, despite injuries decimating Manchester City’s options.
Long-standing captain Vincent Kompany departed for Anderlecht in the summer, while Aymeric Laporte and John Stones have both succumbed to injuries in quick succession.
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- Club captain Kompany left for Anderlecht in the summer.
- City’s first-choice centre-backs Stones and Laporte have both picked up serious injuries.
- This resulted in Fernandinho partnering Nicolas Otamendi against Everton.
- But Guardiola insists City cannot afford to sign another defender in January.
- The Spaniard says he will trust in youngsters Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis.
This resulted in Fernandinho dropping in at centre-back alongside the error-prone Nicolas Otamendi for their 3-1 win over Everton, leading many fans to suggest that the Citizens should dip into the January market.
But Guardiola says City do not have enough funds to go out and buy a new defender. Instead, he is willing to trust in youngsters Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis – who both started their 3-0 League Cup win over Preston in midweek – to help bridge the gap.
When asked by Sky Sports whether he would target a defender in January, Guardiola responded: “That is not my business but in January we are not going to buy because we don’t have money to pay a huge amount in the summer so we cannot do it in winter.
“We are going to stick to the players we have, with [Taylor] Harwood-Bellis and Eric [Garcia] and with the new players in the academy. We have young, talented players and we can count on them.
“Vinny [Kompany] was an incredible personality and he was incredibly helpful to me and the whole club, but he decided to go to Anderlecht and we have to move forward. That is what it is and so far, it has been perfect.”
Man City can afford to spend, says Neville
Meanwhile, Gary Neville thinks Guardiola needs to strengthen his defensive options and doesn’t believe the suggestion that City can’t afford to spend in January.
The Premier League champions have spent massive sums on the likes of Laporte, Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo in recent years but appear unwilling to do so again amid their defensive injury crisis.
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“You have to think that City will spend in January,” he said. “I saw that Guardiola said they didn’t have any money. Well, they’ve got more than everybody else.
“They bought Aymeric Laporte in January a year and a half ago, and I feel that they’re going to have to do the same again.
“This won’t be good enough for the Champions League or the Premier League. Guardiola will know it – he knows the standard more than anybody.”