Pep Guardiola opted not to hit back at Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde following his criticism of Manchester City’s approach for Frenkie de Jong.
The Ajax midfielder has agreed a deal to join Barca for the 2019-20 season in an €86million deal, but De Jong confirmed in an interview he held talks with both Paris Saint-Germain and City manager Guardiola before choosing LaLiga’s leaders.
Valverde was unimpressed with this revelation, telling reporters: “You cannot talk to a player who has a contract. It’s not in my code. Everyone has their way of acting. I have nothing more to say.”
Ahead of City’s Premier League game away to Newcastle United on Tuesday, Guardiola was asked to respond to Valverde’s comments.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 25, 2019
“No answer,” said the former Barca coach. “No answer to that, he’s my friend, so no problem.
“De Jong will be a Barcelona player. It’s finished. I don’t want to talk about it; it’s over. Not our player, not our business, [we] focus on Newcastle game.
“First of all, I’m not involved in negotiations. I give my opinion and we do our best and I’m so satisfied. The club worked incredible and sometimes they come, sometimes they don’t, it’s not a problem at all.
“All the big clubs sometimes decide with players and the reality is what it is, sometimes it’s not possible. We have enough players to play [on Tuesday].”
The boss knows it’s going to be tough tomorrow night.
How are you feeling about #NEWMCI?
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 28, 2019
Guardiola also appeared to confirm Bundesliga side Schalke are trying to sign Rabbi Matondo, an 18-year-old who has already been capped by Wales.
Jadon Sancho and Brahim Diaz have already left City in search of more opportunities, the youngsters joining Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid respectively.
When asked about Schalke’s reported interest in Matondo, Guardiola said: “Yeah, I have some comments. They are interested in another young player. But I don’t know how it’ll happen.
“Incredible, quick, young, fast winger, good talent, it shows how good the club is working.
“All the players in the academy, we trust in them. If they’re patient and want to stay or want to leave, no problem.”
Guardiola added that club captain Vincent Kompany will not be fit for the Newcastle game, but said full-back Benjamin Mendy is “much better” following a knee problem.
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