Pep Guardiola claims Manchester City cannot win a quadruple – because the cash required is beyond even them.
City, who are 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League and still in three knockout competitions, have spent more than £300million on players in the 18 months since Guardiola became their manager.
The outlay could also increase before Wednesday’s transfer deadline with City understood to be in talks to sign Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte, who has a £60million buy-out clause.
Despite this, Guardiola still does not think his squad is of sufficient depth and quality to land all four of the prizes for which they are competing.
Guardiola said: “When you are in four competitions, fighting to be there, sometimes you have to be lucky in terms of injuries or have 22 top players.
“But to have 22 players, you need – people maybe don’t believe me – money we do not have. To compete in a high level you need 22 top players. Today, 22 top players is so expensive. You cannot buy. Even City. There are salaries we cannot pay and there are transfers we cannot pay.”
City have spent heavily to reach the top since their takeover by Sheikh Mansour almost a decade ago.
They have shown there are limits, however, by pulling out of a deal to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal this month due to the rising costs. Sanchez subsequently joined Manchester United.
Guardiola has no complaints about the decision taken by the club.
He said: “Maybe in the future it is going to happen but we did not pay one player more than £100million, £90million, £80million. We cannot pay.
“Why not? They told me we cannot. That is the truth. To be in four competitions, when we have recoveries and every three days we play, we need 20-22 top players. Today it is impossible to have that.”
Pep Guardiola has underlined the importance of David Silva to his powerful Manchester City team.
City are 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League and still alive in three cup competitions.
With few weaknesses in the side, a number of players have made outstanding contributions but a remarkable statistic concerning Silva came to light this week.
City have won their last 24 games in which the Spanish playmaker has featured.
Guardiola said: “That’s why he’s playing every time! It’s a good record, normally when David plays you know you are a good team. He’s a special guy.
“David is so important but we try to make all the players feel they are so important. But he knows, alone, he cannot do it. So we try to make a good team, a good team spirit with everyone involved, knowing with and without the ball what we have to do.
“But, we cannot deny, David has had seven or eight years here – that’s a lot of games, a lot of experience. He has a huge personality to play, especially in the bad moments.
“The difference in the top players is, in the difficult games, they make a step forward and David is one of them.”
Silva missed four games in December after the premature birth of his son and may need to miss more. The club are prepared to give the 32-year-old as much time as he needs.
Guardiola said: “When he is able to play, he plays. When it is not possible, because of his son, we rest him. The most important thing is his son in that moment, and his wife and family.”
City reached the final of the Carabao Cup this week and are understood to be in discussions to sign Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte. Signing the 23-year-old, who has a buy-out clause of £60million, before Wednesday’s transfer deadline would see the club break their transfer record.
Aside from this, however, the club have also been involved in some other important business with Nicolas Otamendi, Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne all signing new contracts in the past fortnight. Silva also penned an extension last month.
“That’s the real news, not the transfers,” said Guardiola. “Nico, Fernandinho, David, Kevin – they’ll stay longer and play for us.
“They are important players for us and all of them deserve to extend their contracts. We are so happy they can stay longer with us.”
City’s quadruple challenge continues on Sunday as they travel to face Championship side Cardiff in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Reports surfaced on Thursday evening that the Chile forward had fallen foul of the Football Association’s ‘whereabouts’ rule by allegedly not being present for a routine doping test on Monday.
Sanchez was putting the final touches on his move to United, which saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan join Arsenal in an exchange deal, and an initial report from Spain highlighted the error.
Sanchez was still registered an Arsenal player when the apparent infraction occurred and Wenger conceded the club must take responsibility for the issue.
“It is just a bad day for him to be tested,” he said.
“Honestly, on the administration side it would still be our responsibility because he had not moved.
“The intention of Alexis was not to hide – and we have nothing to hide.
“On Monday there was a lot going on, it is a special day for Alexis Sanchez – you have do paperwork and travel.”