Manager Pep Guardiola says Manchester City would be “killed” if they indulged in the level of spending seen at Chelsea in the last year.
Guardiola argues the club have always spent responsibly, as opposed to the huge outlay made by the Todd Boehly-led ownership at Stamford Bridge, where the arrival of former City academy player Romeo Lavia this week took their spending to almost £1 billion since the club changed hands.
“I couldn’t sit here if we spent what Chelsea spent in the last two transfer windows – you would kill me,” Guardiola said. “You will kill me, that is for sure. We’d be under scrutiny like you couldn’t imagine.
“When people say just Manchester City and Pep Guardiola buy players, I didn’t know I had a lot of money in my pocket to buy all the players I have.
“We have to see what happens in the market and if we can do it and to pay what we believe is fair.
“In the end we will pay what is fair to do it. Otherwise, we have the academy.”
Guardiola was eager to stress he was not being critical of Chelsea, more the coverage his club receives regarding financial matters.
“They can do what they want,” he added. “I don’t criticise Chelsea for one second. I’m saying, if we do it, we are dead, all around the world. They can do whatever they want…
“If they want to spend, I don’t know, £900million since [Boehly] arrived, 900 more, 900 more. They have it. The business is the business. They sell a lot this season so they can do it.
“I don’t like when they criticise me, what we do, what I have to say. Everyone has their own business and everyone does what is best for the club.
“Everybody wins. Tell me the truth: are you enjoying a lot the transfer window? This player, the other one, every few minutes on Sky TV, a new player here, new player there. It’s so funny.”
Meanwhile, with Kevin De Bruyne needing surgery on a hamstring injury, Guardiola said he was in dialogue with director of football Txiki Begiristain about signing a replacement.
“We maybe need to add someone else,” Guardiola said. “My opinion is I like a small squad. But the blow from Kevin changes the perspective. He is a very important player and it is not one or two weeks.
“It’s four or five months, he’s 32 years old and he needs to be physical because of the way he plays physically. So we have to reflect a bit on the squad and think about what we have to do but we have to control.
“But we are not the only ones spending a lot of money in the last few years.”