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Pep Guardiola 'Bothered' by Jurgen Klopp's 'Fantasia Land' Transfer Comments

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 2, 2019

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - JULY 27: Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola looks on during the preseason friendly match between Yokohama F.Marinos and Manchester City at Nissan Stadium on July 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)
Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said he was bothered by comments from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp suggesting his club operates in "fantasia land" when it comes to transfer spending.

City broke their transfer record for a second year in succession when they signed Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri for €70 million (£62.5 million) in July. Klopp later listed City as one of four clubs whom he thinks can afford to consistently spend vast sums, while Liverpool think about how to "pay the bills."

Guardiola spoke to the press ahead of Sunday's Community Shield clash against Liverpool and hit back at Klopp's remarks, appearing to suggest his opposite number was lowering the Reds' profile:

"Does it bother me? Of course it bothers me, because it's not true that we spent £200 million every transfer market.

"It's Liverpool, 'You'll Never Walk Alone.' It's not a small team. It's Liverpool. Of course, I don't like it because it's not true. Last season we spent £17 million—one seven—on just one player.

"When I said two seasons ago I spent a lot, it's because I took over a team with 10 or 11 players over 30-years, so I had to do it. We cannot spend £200 million every season."

He added: "Like, for example, Liverpool spent more than £200 million last season. They cannot do it this season. We bought one player and Angelino on a buy-back clause."

Liverpool's total spend last season—including summer and winter transfer windows—was actually around £160 million. Granted they only sold a little more than £30 million in players, but the club was also still enjoying a windfall from Philippe Coutinho's £105 million sale to Barcelona in January 2018.

The Daily Mail's Dominic King defended Klopp's comments as a remark upon Liverpool's own limitations, rather than any kind of criticism against City:

Dominic King @DominicKing_DM

Klopp jibe? Let’s not let the clicks stand in the way of what he actually said. The point he emphasised - and which was reported - was about Liverpool’s spending and how there was no criticism of Manchester City. But, hey, let’s crack on before a ball has even been kicked. https://t.co/YhqHXjl560

City have been referred to UEFA's financial fair play disciplinary body in regards to their spending, and it was reported in June that their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport is likely to fail.

Guardiola continued:

"Today the clubs cannot spend every single season a lot of money. I don't know what happened at Barcelona because I'm not there. If they think they can do it, it's because they can do it.

"That's why financial fair play, when something is wrong and the clubs are not correct, they are punished. That is the reality. Other managers can say what they say but I can only say that is not true."

Both Klopp and Guardiola earned nominations to be named FIFA's Best Men's Coach for 2019, per BT Sport:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Three Premier League managers feature in The Best FIFA Men’s Coach 2019 nominees 🤩 🇩🇪 Jurgen Klopp 🏆 Champions League winner 🇪🇸 Pep Guardiola 🏆 Domestic treble winner 🇦🇷 Mauricio Pochettino 🥈 Champions League runner-up https://t.co/gKvSP3yEWT

Transfermarkt recently published a season-by-season breakdown of every current Premier League club's spending from the past five campaigns, up to and including this summer. City's net spend in that period is £565 million—at least £140 million more than any other club—while Liverpool's is £115 million.

It's also uncertain what Guardiola meant when he said City spent £17 million last season. The Citizens broke their then-transfer record to sign Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City for £60 million—they made a net profit of around £7 million over the course of the season.

The City coach went on to say his squad is almost fully stocked ahead of Sunday's trip to Wembley Stadium:

BBC RM Sport @BBCRMsport

‘Except Fernandinho, everybody is back... I think it will be hot in London, we are going try to play with the players who have had more minutes in pre-season.’

Liverpool have begun to spend larger sums of late but still come second to City in player investment over recent years, with the Reds yet to complete a major signing this summer.

His rivalry with Klopp appears alive and well leading up to the Community Shield, when the Premier League kingpins will take on UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool in London.