Pep Guardiola has claimed that Manchester City could not afford to compete with Manchester United for the signings of Harry Maguire and Alexis Sanchez, as he hit back against rival concerns over the Citizens' unlimited spending.
Sanchez joined United back in January 2018, in a deal which saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move in the other direction to Arsenal. Maguire meanwhile, arrived at Old Trafford for £80m - a world-record fee for a defender.
In both cases, City were also in for the player, only to be outbid by United.
"We have a lot of money, but we wanted Alexis Sanchez and we could not afford it," Guardiola said in a spiky press conference, as he addressed concerns over City's unchecked spending in the wake of the CAS verdict to overturn their European ban (via the Standard).
"We wanted Harry Maguire and we could not afford it. We could not pay like United paid."
Guardiola also took at aim his Premier League rivals and Arsene Wenger as he defended City's financial might.
He even went as far as to claim that those who stand to miss out on a place in Europe due to City's Champions League ban being lifted should be happy for them.
"I don’t want to apologise for anything," Guardiola said (via the Leicester Mercury)
"I’m sorry guys. Manchester City don’t have to apologise because the three independent judges decided we have done everything properly. It’s clear. More than clear, it’s impossible.
"All these clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester, Wolves, Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool – Liverpool! – Burnley, I understand they want the five positions for the Champions League. I can understand.
"We said, yeah, we are completely with you eight clubs. We want to make the resolution from CAS as soon as possible to clarify this. Because I said all the time if we did something wrong and we needed to be banned, we will be banned and we will accept it.
"I was completely with these eight clubs to go to CAS and make their resolution. The resolution is there so that’s why they must be happy. They must be happy because we didn’t break the rules."
The Citizens are currently set to finish around 20 points adrift of champions Liverpool and the Spaniard explained that further investment in his squad is required in order to close the gap.
"I am humble enough to accept that without my players I am nothing, zero. That’s why I need my players, and for that I need clubs who are financially strong - like a lot of clubs - to do it," Guardiola said.
"I'm a good manager, but I don't win titles if I don't have good players and good players are expensive, but all the clubs spend a lot of money. Barcelona spend a lot of money, [Real] Madrid spend a lot of money, English teams spend a lot of money.
"But if we build the club in terms of the last decade to compete with the elite of the Premier League or Champions League, we need to invest."