Manchester City will not be signing a replacement for Ferran Torres in January says Pep Guardiola, with the Citizens happy to bide their time after completing a big-money deal with Barcelona.
sporty were able to confirm on Wednesday that the Spain international forward is preparing to head back to his homeland with an agreement that will initially be worth €55 million (£47m/$62m).
That transfer will free up squad space and funds at Etihad Stadium with the reigning Premier League champions already short on a prolific No 9, but Guardiola is adamant he will not be seeking out attacking reinforcements in the winter.
What has been said?
Quizzed on Torres and whether it will lead to him spending again, Guardiola told reporters: “No, we’re not going to bring in any striker in January.
“Txiki [Begiristain] didn’t tell me anything officially [about Torres going to Barcelona] so I cannot answer. I know they are negotiating, I think it’s close, that’s all. When the club announces it’s done but not right now. Txiki didn’t call or text me about it to say it’s already done.”
Why is Torres leaving?
The highly-rated 21-year-old joined City from Valencia in the summer of 2020 and was expected to thrive in English football.
His debut campaign delivered 13 goals in 36 appearances in all competitions, including a Premier League hat-trick, but an opportunity to head for Camp Nou has proved too good to turn down.
Guardiola said of the reasons for Torres moving on: “I want happiness for my players. If you’re not happy you have to leave. We are not a club like other teams when you want to leave the CEO and president say no.
“Another issue is the agreement with the clubs, it’s not my business. If the club isn’t accepting the offer, you have to stay. That’s why players have marvellous agents, they negotiate through the media, the weapons they have to do the deals. It’s not the case for Ferran.
“Everyone, if you want to leave because you’re not happy here, you believe you’ll be happy somewhere else, you have to go. Careers are short, one day it’s over. If he wants to leave, absolutely no disappointment. I’m happy for him.”
The Catalan coach added on doing business with his former club: “I always have the feeling if Barcelona and Real Madrid want a player, it’s difficult to say no. They are the strongest teams in the world.
“He’s from Spain, Barcelona want him, he knocked on my door said he wants to leave – I said leave. I called Txiki, his agent makes a deal. I hear the deal is close.
“I cannot push the players or convince the player if his mind is elsewhere. Other clubs say it doesn’t matter, I’m not deciding. It’s my personal decision [to let players leave].”
Could players go on strike?
The congested fixture schedule has proved even more controversial than usual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, with two Premier League games on Boxing Day already called off.
Guardiola railed against the schedule and the Premier League’s attitudes to player welfare – but stopped short of suggesting they woudl actively refuse to play matches.
He said: “For FIFA, the Premier League, the broadcasters, the business is more important than their welfare. The simplest example is all around the world they have five substitutions, here it’s still three. Tell me one argument to take care of players’ welfare than this one.
“We talk about the welfare just for the playersm and the associations say okaym we don’t play any more until we solve that situation. Maybe then the people are going to pay attention. But you have to decide for the broadcaster, for the Premier League, for the rest to take decisions on behalf of the welfare of the players. This is not going to happen.
“No I don’t think so [if players will strike] because we want to play, we want to continue. Make the people happy going to the stadium on the 26th, 27th, 29th, 31st and first and play games because we love to do that.
“I’m not saying there’s a reason to make a strike. But when people say World Cups, European Cups, Carabao Cup semi finals over two legs, and FA Cups and the Premier League, and more games and more games and less holidays and another one.
“We played the first two or three games of the league without players. Against Tottenham and the Community Shield against Leicester I didn’t have the squad. We had 10 players. It’s fair for the competition? No it’s not fair.”