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Guardiola only half-joking with money comment – Liverpool and co can't compete


Just wait until Manchester City get Nathan Ake back, then the rest will be in trouble.

Yep, that is a £40million defender, signed only seven months ago, that most have forgotten about.

Just over a decade ago, that was a figure way in excess of the British record transfer fee – the £32.5million City paid Real Madrid for Robinho.

Nowadays, it is loose change that has slipped down the side of City’s settee.

After the bloodless win against Borussia Monchengladbach – one of many bloodless wins in this 19-game stretch – I asked Pep Guardiola for the secret of his current success.



Pep Guardiola left Man City fans baffled with his 'cringey' jacket during their Champions League clash
Pep Guardiola joked about Man City’s success being down to money

Expecting the usual stuff about focus, character, spirit, attitude, belief, or whatever, we were all taken a little bit aback by his blunt response.

“We have a lot of money to buy a lot of incredible players,” he declared. “Without good quality players, we cannot do it.”

His honesty was so disarming, many interpreted it as humour, or sarcasm, or both.

And that might be the case, Pep responding to what he considers the tiresome mantra that City have merely bought success.

But what he says is quite patently correct. For example, the defence has finally clicked spectacularly but only after huge outlay over the past five years.

John Stones for £47.5million, Kyle Walker for £54million, Danilo for £27million, Benjamin Mendy for £52million, Aymeric Laporte for £57million, Ruben Dias for £64million and, yes, Ake, for £40million.

Of course, Ake returning to full fitness is unlikely to have the slightest bearing on City’s fortunes this season.

Perhaps like Pep, I was being sarcastic.

But the fact City can have Ake’s £40million ilk in defensive reserve is a symbol of their embarrassment of riches.



Such is Manchester City’s embarrassment of riches, it is easy to forget £40million Nathan Ake has hardly figured since his summer move

It is not so much City have great quality, as Guardiola describes it, but that they have great quality in numbers. Serious numbers. They have stockpiled quality like no other.

And going forward, the concern must be that, post-pandemic, even fewer clubs will have the financial appetite to try and match City in the transfer market.

Erling Haaland’s next club could be a temperature check of the health of City’s rivals.

As the economic effects of the pandemic begin to seriously kick in, will the likes of, for example, the Fenway Sports Group want to cross financial swords with the might of City’s owners?



When the financial realities of post-pandemic life kick in, City will be one of few clubs that could offer the likes of Harry Kane fortunes AND a guarantee of medals

With their sort of backing, City would seem certain to emerge from this crisis stronger than any of their rivals. Domestic and European.

Not only will they be able to offer the best players market-leading wages, they will be able to offer them guarantees of silverware, of medals.

If City were so inclined to pursue him, someone such as Harry Kane would surely be drawn by those twin temptations.

No matter how much it is costing, City’s rewriting of record books is fun to watch. Guardiola’s side is fun to watch. The way he coaches, cajoles, organises, prepares and motivates a football team – the way he improves individuals too numerous to mention – is fun to watch.

But just like his indisputable genius, it costs big money.

And that is why this remarkable run might not just be a reflexing of muscle, it might be the start of a long, long era of dominance.

Like it or not.





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