The Premier League champions didn’t replace their departed club captain and their coach says they couldn’t spend the money their rivals did

Pep Guardiola has claimed that Manchester City could not afford to buy a replacement for Vincent Kompany, despite his team spending around £130 million ($158m) over the summer.

City have something of an injury crisis at centre half after Aymeric Laporte went down with a knee injury Guardiola fears might be serious in Saturday’s game against Brighton.

Central midfielder Fernandinho was forced into emergency service as John Stones was already absent through injury, though he is expected back after the international break.

Club captain Kompany was allowed to leave at the end of last season to become player-manager at Anderlecht, and no direct replacement was acquired.

Harry Maguire was Guardiola’s top target but the Spaniard said his team couldn’t match the price local rivals Manchester United ended up paying, reported as £80m, and would have to look internally for the solution to their defensive woes.

“We could not buy like our opponents or what teams offered us or asked of us for these players,” the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager told the press.

“Of course, we spent a lot two seasons ago, but last season one player, this season a little bit more so we could not pay the money wanted.

“But we have an alternative and sometimes when that happens the team unites better and we are going to find solutions to that.

“The club works incredibly well in all departments and sometimes we cannot afford it like other teams afford it and that is all.”

City have assembled a very expensive squad in recent years and added several players over the close season.

They acquired Rodri, Joao Cancelo and Angelino, but, although all are defensive players, none are centre-backs.

Guardiola acknowledged his team’s depth, but said the club had told him he had a budget he could not exceed.

“We pay a lot of money for a lot of players, that is why we have a depth of squad with huge quality, be we cannot [sign a central defender],” he went on.

“The club tell me you have a limit, you cannot go forward. Maybe in the future, but not now, you cannot do it.

“I say OK, you cannot do it so we cannot do it so we are going with what we have.”

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