Man City cannot afford '22 top players' - Pep Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola
Guardiola's side are 12 points clear in the Premier League

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says even the Premier League leaders do not have the money to buy "22 top players".

City spent £215m last summer and, according to a new ranking, have more financial firepower than any other club in world football.

"Four competitions at a high level, you need 22 players," said Guardiola, whose side could win the league, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup.

"Today, 22 top players is so expensive. You cannot buy that. Even City."

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City pulled out of the race to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal because it is understood they did not want to meet his wage demands as it would have put him ahead of all City's star men.

Instead, Sanchez joined Manchester United in a swap deal, seeing playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan going the other way.

"There are salaries we cannot pay. There are parts of the transfer we cannot pay," said Guardiola.

"Maybe in the future it is going to happen, but we have not paid more than £100m for a player, or £90 or £80m. We cannot pay that right now. They told me. And the salaries and some things. We cannot pay. That is the truth."

City's record signing remains Kevin de Bruyne for £55m, but they could break that as they hope to bring in defender Aymeric Laporte from La Liga club Athletic Bilbao for £57m.

He added: "Of course, we have spent a lot of money. The same money as a lot of teams.

"I can assure you, we are not the only team in the world that has spent a lot of money. There are many."

Manchester City's key arrivals last summer
£43m - Bernardo Silva (Monaco)
£26.5m - Danilo (Real Madrid)
£35m - Ederson (Benfica)
£52m - Benjamin Mendy (Monaco)
£45m - Kyle Walker (Tottenham)

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