Pep Guardiola has hit back at those who feel Manchester City are flouting Financial Fair Play rules and challenged the doubters to prove their case.
City forked out a record-breaking £100m to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa. And while that seems an outrageous sum to pay for one player, they may be about to trump that. Rumours persist that the champions still want Harry Kane and will offer Tottenham £120m for the England skipper next week.
Just one of those deals would cause head scratching among rival clubs. And Liverpool chief Jurgen Klopp recently aimed a thinly-veiled dig at the Citizens.
The German said his club could not be compared to City because “obviously they have no limits”. City were handed a two-year ban from European competition for breaching Uefa’s FFP rules.
But that was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and they were clear to continue in the Champions League. However, with the money being spent, it is inevitable that fingers will, once again, be pointed at the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola has responded, stating that the £60m generated by sales means the Grealish deal was above board. And the Spaniard is clearly becoming frustrated at what he feels is a witch hunt.
“We have limits because of FFP,” he said, as reported by BBC Sport. “We are on the same page like everyone.
“After that, each club decides what they want to do. Every season we have passed the controls that are there for everyone. If we are wrong, prove it.”
Guardiola backs City owners
City’s Abu Dhabi-based ownership seem happy to spend big on new players. Many Premier League clubs have foreign owners who are not as willing to dig deep.
And Guardiola believes there is an amount of jealousy behind some of the criticism.
“I have said before, there are owners who want the benefits for themselves,” he added. “Our owners don’t want to lose money but if they can spend, they will.”
The former Barcelona coach then aimed a swipe and his club’s biggest rivals.
“In the past, [Manchester] United won a lot of titles because they spent more money than the other clubs. You remember that? They spent more than Manchester City because we couldn’t do it,” he continued.
“Before it was one club, or two, or two and a half. Then other clubs arrived – Chelsea with [Roman] Abramovich, us with Sheikh Mansour. They want to be in this world. What is the problem?”