Pep Guardiola has hit back at Klopp’s jibes over Manchester City’s “fantasy land” spending. Guardiola has spent in excess of half a billion pounds en route to winning back-to-back Premier League trophies and turning the club into the country’s dominant team after last campaign’s domestic treble.
But, on the eve of Sunday’s game against Liverpool at Wembley, the City boss has reacted angrily to Klopp’s claims that City, Madrid, Barcelona and Paris St-Germain operate in “this fantasia land where you just get whatever you want” that his club cannot compete with.
“Does it bother me? Of course it bothers me because it’s not true that we spent £200 million every window,” Guardiola said. “That is not true.
“So it’s Liverpool – you’ll never walk alone – it’s not a small team, it’s Liverpool. So of course I don’t like it [Klopp’s comments] because it’s not true.”
City broke their club record to sign Spain midfielder Rodri from Atletico for £62.8m this summer window and have also paid the £5.35m buyback clause to re-sign Angelino from PSV Eindhoven.
The champions’ record outlay is a fraction of some of the sums lavished by Real, Barcelona and PSG and Liverpool’s two most expensive purchases – £75m defender Virgil van Dijk and £66m goalkeeper Alisson – are more costly recruits than City’s record buy.
Klopp pointed out that Van Dijk and Alisson were signed using the proceeds from the £145m sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barca but Guardiola stressed that the £60m signing of Riyad Mahrez was largely offset by the sales of Angus Gunn, Jason Denayer, Pablo Maffeo and Joe Hart.
“Last season we spent £17m [net] on just one player [Mahrez],” the City boss said. “Two seasons ago when we spent a lot it’s because I took over a team with 10 or 11 players aged 30 or over so I had to do it.
“But we cannot spend £200m every season. For example, Liverpool spent more than £200m last season and can’t do it again this season so it’s the same.
“We bought one player (Rodri) this summer and paid the buyback clause for Angelino and that is the reality. So today clubs cannot spend every single season spending a lot of money. What happened at Barcelona and the other clubs about spending, monies I don’t know what happened because I’m not there.
“If they think they can do it it’s because they do it. With Financial Fair Play, when something is wrong, the clubs will be punished but also I’m not on the comments of other managers because they say what they want to say. Only I can say that is not true.”