‘Who spent more money in the 1970s or 80s… or with Ferguson?’: Man City boss Pep Guardiola comes out fighting in an attack on Liverpool and United’s spending records, after claims £385,000-per-week Erling Haaland only joined his club for cash
- Pep Guardiola has questioned why Man City’s spending is judged differently
- Guardiola admitted the club would not be able to change their image
- The City boss stepped up his mind games with Liverpool last week
- He claimed everyone in the country wants Jurgen Klopp’s men to win the title
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has aimed at another dig at Liverpool as he hit out at how his club’s spending and their sponsorship deals are treated differently to those of the Anfield club and Manchester United.
Guardiola stepped up the mind games in the Premier League run-in when he claimed everyone in the country wants Liverpool to lift the title.
The prickly Spaniard also made a jibe about Liverpool’s record in the Premier League when he said: ‘They have an incredible history behind them in European competitions. Not in the Premier League, because they’ve won one in 30 years.’
Now Guardiola has taken aim at the treatment of his club when it comes to their transfer fees and lucrative sponsorship agreements.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has aimed another dig at Liverpool in the title run-in
Jurgen Klopp laughed off Guardiola’s claim that everyone wanted Liverpool to win the title
City on Tuesday confirmed they had reached an agreement to sign Erling Haaland
HIGHEST TRANSFER FEES
Jack Grealish – £100m
Paul Pogba – £89.3m
Virgil van Dijk – £76.2m
City on Tuesday announced they had reached an agreement in principle to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland for an initial £51million – although the eventual fee is expected to be significantly higher.
It is the latest high-profile transfer since City, who broke the transfer record when they signed Jack Grealish for £100m last summer, were bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008.
‘Listen, Liverpool in the 1970s or 80s, or United with Sir Alex Ferguson – who spent more money?’ Guardiola told Sky Sports.
‘Who spent more money? It was Norwich? Norwich spent more money in that period?
‘Or what other teams… Leicester? Leicester spent more money than them? No. They spent more money than the other ones. But the money from them is completely different than now.’
The club’s dealings with sponsors based in their owners’ homeland of Abu Dhabi have also been the subject of significant scrutiny. City’s agreement with the Etihad airline is thought to be worth £67.5ma year.
City’s sponsorship deal with Etihad has been the subject of scrutiny and investigation
City broke the transfer record when they lured Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for £100million
Liverpool have an £80m-a-year deal with Standard Chartered, while United last March signed a £235m, five-year contract with TeamViewer.
‘I’ve said I’m not going to change that [perception],’ added Guardiola.
‘When we put here [on the front of our shirts] Etihad, people say, “Oh it’s overpaid”. But now United and Liverpool are going to get paid maybe more than us, because maybe (it’s) deserved because they are working well, because the CEO negotiated well, whatever happened.
‘They get more and because it’s from the United States of America or another country – or the owners are – so now it’s perfect.
Etihad Airlines – £67.5ma year
TeamViewer – £235m over five years
Standard Chartered – £80m a year
‘So that’s why it’s not going to change, for a long time it’s not going to change, that is the reality. The only way we can change is doing well on the pitch.’
City are top of the Premier League table ahead of Liverpool on goal difference and can extend their lead to three points if they beat Wolves at Molineux on Wednesday.
As revealed in the Mail on Sunday, the Premier League have appointed ‘subject matter experts’ for the ultra-secretive three-year legal investigation into City’s finances, which suggests the Financial Fair Play battle between the Premier League champions and the authorities is reaching its protracted final stage.
‘Subject matter experts’ are expert witness that explain the context of detail within a case and according to one Premier League legal expert they would normally be appointed in anticipation of a charge being made, but there is no confirmation from City or the Premier League that they have been charged with any offence.
Klopp’s Liverpool spent an initial £37million to sign Luis Diaz from Porto in January
United also splashed the cash under Sir Alex Ferguson, including signing Robin van Persie for £24million
Raheem Sterling signed for City from Liverpool in a fee that could rise to £49million
Indeed, both parties have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the battle secret. It was sparked by Der Spiegel’s publication of leaked emails, which suggested that City’s commercial figures were inflated by Sheikh Mansour’s Abu Dhabi United Group to circumnavigate Financial Fair Play rules.
That led to City being charged by UEFA and the Premier League investigating in March 2019. City were initially banned from the Champions League by UEFA’s Financial Control Body in February 2020 but that decision was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in July 2020, because much of the evidence fell outside of a time limit. CAS decided the case against City hadn’t been established by the emails that were within the five-year limit.
It was the CAS ruling that helped allay manager Guardiola’s fears, after the Catalan sought assurances from the Manchester City hierarchy about the club’s financial conduct.