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Guardiola says it is almost impossible to fight with Madrid or Barcelona over players

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Guardiola says City cannot compete with Real Madrid or Barcelona with their stringent transfer policy

Pep Guardiola has hit out at Manchester City’s stringent transfer policy of not paying over the odds to secure the services of the world’s top players, claiming that the club will find it impossible to sign players for a fee that they deem reasonable.

The Citizens missed out on their top transfer target Frenkie de Jong in their pursuit of a long-term successor to Fernandinho’s throne, with Barcelona having the final say in the transfer saga.

City was right up there in the race to sign the prodigy but Barcelona offered Ajax more than the previously agreed fee of £61 million and also raised the Dutchman’s wages to around £260,000-a-week.

Guardiola says that he has no problems with the Dutchman joining the La Liga giants but he bemoans the kind of fees that other top clubs are prepared to pay, with the manager suggesting that City will have to start looking at younger prospects to improve their squad rather than established stars.

“The transfer market, the salaries, increases a lot,” the Catalan said. “After Neymar at PSG, it increased to incredible levels. Unfortunately, that’s why we spend a lot to change the team (average age). We have to be quicker and smarter and try to buy the players.

“We have to adapt. It’s difficult to buy the top, top players at a good price. It’s almost impossible. Maybe we have to trust in the young players and help them develop their own personality here.”

He added: “I said many times, Barcelona and Madrid it’s impossible to fight against them. For the prestige, the incredible league, the incredible clubs they are. The players have to take their own decisions. When they don’t want to come it’s because they want another place. There are other options and we are going to try if we believe we need players in that position.”

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