Pep Guardiola shot down any notion of Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling being involved in a swap deal to secure Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.
City were heavily linked with a move for Sanchez, who played under Guardiola at Barcelona, and events escalated before the transfer window closed as bids were belatedly lodged.
Reports emerged that England international Sterling could have been used as a makeweight to snare the 28-year-old Chile star, but Guardiola was quick to reject that proposal from Arsenal.
Sterling is suspended for the visit of former club Liverpool to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday after he was sent off for over-celebrating in the aftermath of securing a 2-1 win at Bournemouth last time out.
The 22-year-old endured a forgettable international break with the Three Lions but, speaking at a pre-match news conference, Guardiola reiterated his faith in the player.
“When we started to speak with Arsenal in the last days [of the transfer window], because before it was not possible, they wanted to make a swap with Raz [Sterling],” he said.
“They talked to me and I said, ‘no chance, zero chance, not one percent chance to make a swap with Alexis and Raz.
“I trust a lot in him as a 22-year-old English player. There is a lot of room to improve.
“The only deal possible was cash. We try to make an offer, they accepted but in the end they could not sign the player they wanted to sign. Alexis stayed at Arsenal.”
PEP: Arsenal wanted to make a swap with Raheem. They talk to me and I said no chance. Zero chance.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 8, 2017
Sanchez is out of contract at the end of this season and it has been speculated City could return with a reduced £20million bid for the forward in January, after their £60m deadline-day approach collapsed.
“Sometimes deals happen, sometimes not,” Guardiola said. “I don’t know what will happen in the winter time. He is an Arsenal player.”
City’s spending over recent seasons was questioned in outspoken fashion by LaLiga president Javier Tebas at the Soccerex conference in Manchester this week.
Guardiola revealed he and City chief executive officer Ferran Soriano, also formerly of Barcelona, sought clear-the-air talks with Tebas.
“I met him yesterday [Thursday],” Guardiola explained. “He was in Manchester, this lovely city and I said ‘hi’.
“He spoke with Ferran I think. Ferran clarified why UEFA did not investigate Mancherster City
“In mathematics, I am not a big guy. Ferran knows more than me. I am sure Javier Tebas had some doubts and he was able to talk with Ferran.
“But I would say something – the Premier League has greater stature, really good things. So maybe Mr Tebas of LaLiga could learn some things about this competition as well.”
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