Manchester City reportedly "fear Arsenal have won the race" to sign academy star Jadon Sancho amid speculation he wants to leave the club, while manager Pep Guardiola has defended his spending at the Etihad Stadium.
According to Daniel Cutts of The Sun, a source at the club said:
"The club is worried Arsenal are frontrunners for Jadon as he has a soft spot for them.
"His family think he might get a quicker path to first-team action at either Arsenal or Spurs.
"One of his heroes is ironically Alexis Sanchez. It’s proving difficult to get him to sign his first professional contract here.
"He is a top player, one of, if not the best in the youth system. It’s not about the money for him at all."
The Citizens previously believed he would stay despite their failure to secure his future on a lucrative contract, per Jack Pitt-Brooke of The Independent:
Jack Pitt-Brooke @JackPittBrooke
And it's not just about £. He's been offered £30k/week, amazing deal for a 17 year old. Thinks he'll get closer to first team elsewhere.2017-7-20 21:53:36
Per Cutts, Sancho believes Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is the right mentor to develop him into a senior player.
The midfielder has a year remaining at the Etihad and could leave next year at the expiration of his contract if he's not sold this summer, but he won't come for free as City will be owed compensation for his development.
Meanwhile, Guardiola has commented on City's transfer activity so far this summer, which has seen them spend more than £200 million on rebuilding their squad.
Per The Independent's Kieran Canning, the Spaniard believes the inflated prices being spent this summer are far from ideal, but the club's need for reinforcements was great:
"I would like to pay less for the club, for everybody, but the market is the market. Manchester City did not invest in full-backs in the last six or seven last years and all four had 31 or 32 years old. We decided we had to make the squad younger and we try to get the best full-backs possible."
Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov all departed this summer, leaving City with no senior full-backs.
In replacing them with Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy, Guardiola has intensified City's already significant spending on defensive reinforcements:
B/R Football @brfootball
Manchester City have spent almost £300m on defenders and goalkeepers in a three-year span. 💸 https://t.co/Zblpdc3bii2017-7-25 02:02:00
Football writer Shane Burns believes criticism of the coach based on his spending to be unfair:
Shane Burns @ShaneBurns_
With last season's squad, yes City should have challenged for the title. But now calling him a fraud for spending is beyond insanity,2017-7-23 09:57:18
Indeed, Guardiola inherited the full-back situation, and with the explosion of transfer fees this summer, replacing them with quality players was always going to be an expensive task, so spending big money was unavoidable if they wish to challenge for the Premier League title next year.
City will likely pursue further quality and depth for their side before the end of the summer to add to that spending, but if their recruitment has been sound, it will lay the platform for less significant overhauls of the squad in future windows.