Guardiola on Manchester City signings hard to beat Real Madrid Barcelona

Sergio Aguero Manchester City 2018-19

Pep Guardiola said Kevin De Bruyne "knows where I am" if he has a problem with having been substituted in Manchester City's thrashing of Burton Albion on Wednesday.

But with City still fighting for silverware on four fronts, the Catalan is happy to rely on John Stones and Ilkay Gundogan until the end of the season.

City are prepared to pay about £70 million all told for De Jong but face serious competition from front-runners Barcelona and Paris St-Germain for the 21-year-old Netherlands midfielder.

Neves, whose Wolves side visit the Etihad on Monday, tends to play as one of two holding midfielders, whereas Fernandinho performs that role on his own in the City line-up. "We have a limit and cannot spend more so that's why we need to be careful with the players and try next season to see what we can do to improve".

Guardiola says last season's Carabao Cup game between the two sides offered all the evidence he needed to know how strong they are.

Guardiola added: "Fernandinho's role, it's so hard to find [a similar player]". "He knows the Premier League, after three years together here, he knows everything and that's so important".

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Wolves midfielder and Portugal worldwide Neves has impressed following the club's promotion, however, Guardiola insisted City can not afford the 21-year-old amid talk of a £100million fee.

Guardiola acknowledges he can not expect Fernandinho, signed from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, to play as much for City as he gets older, adding a solution has to be found for next season. A lot of them are under contracts.

"A month ago, I started reading: 'Ruben Neves, £100 million ($129 million, 112 million euros)'". But we can not do it every season. That is not going to happen. We are not going to pay £100m for a holding midfielder.

City do have a number of irons in the fire at the moment - including Lyon pair Tanguy Ndombele and Houssem Aouar - and much of Guardiola's Friday press conference was dedicated to the subject of the Blues' transfer business, and the task of replacing Fernandinho.

"You have to pay the club, pay the family and talk with the players, and with the agents, it's nuts".

"For loan players maybe it can happen, for a short time, but I don't think the big clubs buy players for just six months and important players are not sold in that period. I didn't speak with him so that one time I can not say what he thinks because I don't know".

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