'We have limits because of FFP': Pep Guardiola defends Manchester City's transfer spending

City get Premier League title defence off to losing start at Tottenham

Pep Guardiola has defended Manchester City's transfer outlay this summer, saying the club are in compliance with Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

The reigning Premier League champions began their title defence with a 1-0 defeat away to Tottenham on Sunday, despite boasting record signing Jack Grealish, who joined from Aston Villa this month.

City are also pursuing long-term target Harry Kane. The Spurs striker was left out of the squad by new Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo for Sunday's victory as Kane continues to hold out for a move to City.

The North London club are holding out for a fee in excess of £150 million for their talisman, a fee City feel is excessive in today's financial climate. The transfer window closes on August 31.

FFP rules were introduced by European governing body Uefa in 2009 to prevent clubs spending beyond their means and distorting the market, requiring teams to break even and keep wages and transfer fees in line with income.

City had a two-year suspension from European football overturned by Court of Arbitration for Sport in July last year after it ruled City did not breach FFP rules.

The club's spending has raised questions again after they signed Grealish for £100 million - a record between two British clubs - but Guardiola said the deal was possible because City had generated £60 million in player sales over the past 12 months.

Among the departures from City include record-scorer Sergio Aguero, who joined Barcelona over the summer on a free transfer, RB Leipzig turned left-back Angelino's loan into a permanent deal for €18 million while Jack Harrison joined Leeds United for €12.8 million.

"We have limits because of FFP," Guardiola said ahead of Sunday's defeat to Tottenham. "We are on the same page like everyone. After that, each club decides what they want to do.

"Every season we have passed the controls that are there for everyone. If we are wrong, prove it.

"I have said before, there are owners who want the benefits for themselves. Our owners don't want to lose money but if they can spend, they will."

Even with an array of attacking threats on the pitch and £340 million worth of talent sat on the bench, City were listless and lacking a cutting edge at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The display will make the signing of Tottenham's absent striker Kane even more pressing. Guardiola would not be drawn on the Kane debate after the match, but praised new boy Grealish.

"He was excellent. He played with a personality and created chances. Unfortunately we could not win for him for his debut but he played really well," the Spaniard said.

"In terms of give me the ball he doesn't lose the ball, he is so dangerous close to the box."

City have now lost all four games they have played at Tottenham's new stadium without scoring, including three in the Premier League.

"Spurs are a tough rival for us, always I have the feeling that we are good here but we cannot get results because they punish you in transitions," Guardiola said.

"Most of the players have 90 minutes in the legs, we have a long week to prepare to face Norwich and hopefully the players can come back step by step.

"I see very very good things. I know the result is not good but I saw many many good things that will help us in the future to get better."

Updated: August 16th 2021, 8:20 AM
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