Guardiola: 'City can ward off Barca, Real Madrid interest'

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City is now at a level where it can afford to stave off any advances from Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling (in picture) and Ederson have all signed new long-term deals at Manchester City this year, further underlining the sense of stability around the club.   -  Getty Images

Manchester City's progress in recent seasons means it is no longer vulnerable to losing key players to the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, according to Pep Guardiola.

Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Ederson have all signed new long-term deals at the Etihad Stadium this year, further underlining the sense of stability around the club as City looks to enhance its reputation as a powerhouse both at home and on the continent.

In the past, England's top-flight teams have been susceptible to seeing their best players receive attractive offers from Barca and Madrid, with Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale two recent examples of stars who have swapped the Premier League for one of LaLiga's two behemoths.

Sterling was recently the subject of intense speculation linking him with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu but Guardiola believes his club's ability to tie pivotal personnel down to fresh contracts means the threat of losing such talent is no longer as potent.

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"I think they [Madrid and Barca] can still buy these players, [but] I think they [the players] are comfortable here," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Tuesday's Premier League trip to Watford.

"We try to keep our best players like every club does. We try it because they are young, they know the club, they have a relationship with all the members, the fans, and that's why we want to keep it, so it's common sense.

"The players can stay for longer than the managers, that's why the decision to keep the players or not has to be more than my personal decision. I have to listen to what the club thinks about it because if the results are not good maybe I'll not be here or I don't know what happens in the future in our world.

"It's because they want to stay, but I'm pretty sure Kevin, Raheem, all the young players, Leroy [Sane], Gabriel [Jesus], John Stones and Kyle Walker and everybody, they have all of Europe in front of them if they want to play in another place. If they stay it's because they like to stay here.

"The club changes in the last 10, 12 years. Before, it wasn't a club fighting for big tournaments.

"The good players, they would move for that experience, now maybe they feel after Sheikh Mansour took over they said, 'We can win titles here' and they are comfortable with their families in the city and that's why they decide to stay, so it's simple."

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Sane is in talks with City about agreeing a new deal, but Guardiola suggested he had not played much of a role in those negotiations.

"I don't have any information about the club, or if we are in trouble with Leroy [about not yet coming to an agreement]," Guardiola said. "The last thing I heard was it's going well.

"But the process is not always the same, with Kevin it was in one, two days done but the others it will take longer but hopefully he can stay here for many, many years."

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