Pep Guardiola said Manchester City "are not going to pay £100m for a holding midfielder" such as Rúben Neves of Wolves or any other similar footballer to provide competition for Fernandinho. "He knows the Premier League, after three years together here, he knows everything and that's so important".
"For loan players maybe it can happen, for a short time, but I don't think the big clubs buy players for just six months and important players are not sold in that period". Before tonight's Premier League match against Wolves at the Etihad Stadium, Guardiola emphasised that this summer City must sign an adequate alternative to Fernandinho, the holding midfielder who turns 34 in May.
"Ruben Neves is an excellent player", said Guardiola, whose second-placed side will be looking to cut Liverpool's seven-point lead at the top of the table. "That is not going to happen", said Guardiola.
"You have to pay the club, pay the family and talk with the players, and with the agents, it's nuts".
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Their arrival in Manchester before Christmas coincided with an upturn in the forward's form, and Guardiola said: "The private life is the private life and if they need something we are there". The German at least looked comfortable in the position as Fernandinho was rested for the cup thrashings of Rotherham and Burton over the past week, which City won by a combined scoreline of 16-0.
"It's not easy to find the specific quality of the players [who can play holding midfield]". He made an incredible assist and a lot of passes before the finish. He has the quality and the vision to pass.
Guardiola says last season's Carabao Cup game between the two sides offered all the evidence he needed to know how strong they are. "He's a fantastic player".
Gundogan's contract expires at the end of next season and City are keen to tie the 28-year-old to a new deal.