Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has expressed his desire to buy English players but has bemoaned just how expensive they are.
Guardiola is likely to move into the transfer market in the summer to further reinvigorate a squad that is ageing, particularly in terms of defensive options.
One of his most important considerations will be nationality because clubs are only permitted to name a maximum of 17 foreign players in 25-man Champions League squads.
City currently have 18 senior overseas players on their books and were forced to leave out Yaya Toure from their European squad earlier this season. Toure has now been restored, but only at the expense of the injured Ilkay Gundogan.
City would hope to be in the that competition again next term and with six players out of contract at the end of this season – Toure, Bacary Sagna, Willy Caballero, Pablo Zabaleta, Jesus Navas and Gael Clichy – there could be an opportunity to buy English.
But Guardiola, who this season allowed England goalkeeper Joe Hart to join Torino on loan, said: “I would like to have English players, believe me, but they are so expensive.
“I would like to play with English players. When I was in Barcelona I liked to play with locals because they feel something special, but sometimes it is not possible. The market is the market and it is not able.”
Part of the solution could be to promote youngsters from the youth set-up and City have high hopes for a number of their prospects, including English teenagers Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden.
Guardiola said: “That is why the club has worked for a long period with the academy, thinking about the next years.
“With me or without me – hopefully with me – I would like to enjoy these four or five guys who are growing, and play with them.”