‘Wage demands forced City out of Sanchez race’

Manchester, United Kingdom: Pep Guardiola has suggested Manchester City gave up on trying to sign Alexis Sanchez because of the player’s high wage demands. Sanchez looked set to leave Arsenal for the Etihad Stadium until Premier League leaders City ended their pursuit on Monday, leaving the way clear for second-placed Manchester United to move in. The Chile forward has agreed a four-and-a-half year contract at Old Trafford, worth a reported basic weekly wage of £365,000 ($506,000, 414,000 euros) with image rights and bonuses taking that above £500,000. City’s highest-earning players, by comparison, are on around £220,000 a week, and Guardiola did not feel that offering a significantly higher wage to a new signing would benefit the squad as a whole.

It is understood the City manager was also unsure about bringing in Sanchez, whom he worked with at Barcelona, mid-season; having failed to secure a deal last August he would have preferred to wait until the summer, when the player’s Arsenal contract was set to expire. “In my time at Barcelona, my time at Bayern Munich and now here, I never pushed the club to say I want those players when the club believes and says that the price is too much,” Guardiola said on Friday. “I respect that decision and I move forward to look for another solution because the stability of the club is the most important thing.”

‘Spent a lot of money’
Guardiola, whose table-toppers play Newcastle on Saturday, has spent heavily in reshaping City’s squad since his arrival from Bayern in July 2016.
Last summer alone, he spent more than £200 million on five players, with around £120 million of that going on three full-backs, in Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo. — AFP