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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City do not need to buy to replace Leroy Sane if the winger goes in the summer.
Sane has refused City’s offers of a new contract and is set to leave the Etihad Stadium either at the end of the current campaign or when his deal expires in 2021.
City are adamant they will not let Sane leave for a cut-price fee but Bayern Munich, who wanted the Germany international last summer, are expected to return with another offer.
But Guardiola believes that Sane’s departure could give more game time to Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus as he said that they, along with Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez, can fill the void on the flank.
The City manager also believes a winger will not be his top target in the transfer market, as he wondered how much the Covid-19 crisis will affect his budget.
He said: “Leroy is our player. I don’t know if he is going to leave this summer or at end of his contract but we have enough good players up front.
"Gabriel and Phil Foden can play on the left, we have Raheem there. We have big, talented players up front. Most of them are in good healthy conditions, like Phil, Riyad, Gabriel and Raheem. They can play quite regularly for a long period of time.”
With Sane injured – though he could make his first appearance of the season against Burnley on Monday night - Sterling has operated almost exclusively on the left this season, scoring 21 goals, while Jesus plays as a winger for Brazil and Guardiola is keen to select him alongside Sergio Aguero.
Foden was already earmarked for a bigger role next season when David Silva leaves and, while generally a midfielder, he showed his versatility by turning in a man-of-the-match display against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup final while playing as a winger.
A few months ago, City were expected to be prominent in the summer transfer market, with a left-back and a central defender thought to be targets.
And Guardiola said that recruiting a winger would not be the main aim, explaining: “I think we have other priorities. And I don’t know, after coronavirus, if the situation economically and financially for the clubs is changing. We’re going to see at the end of this season.”
City had set their sights on a centre-back last summer, but were not willing to match the world-record £80 million (Dh363m) fee Manchester United paid for Harry Maguire.
With Aymeric Laporte missing much of the current campaign through injury and John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi enduing difficult seasons, a need for reinforcements has been apparent, but Guardiola is unsure if City can fund a deal.
He added: “The places I was, Barcelona, Bayern [Munich] and here, when the club say we cannot afford it, we cannot afford it. Maybe in the next two months the team make a step forward and we stay with the same people.”
Benjamin Mendy excelled in Wednesday’s 3-0 win against Arsenal but the Frenchman’s spell in Manchester has been marred by injury. Like Sane, he can offer genuine width on the left, but Guardiola feels it is too soon to know if City can rely on his fitness.
“He has a special quality, with his energy and his potential,” he said. “As a left-back he is an extraordinary player. For Benji, it is about being fit. He loves to play football, being on the pitch.
"He handles the pressure really well on the big stages. He’s a player we can count on [when fit] but we could not count on him for two years and that’s a long time.”
Updated: June 22, 2020 09:44 AM
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