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Tuesday 24 April 2018

Pep guarded on move for Alexis

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has refused to discuss the ongoing speculation linking Manchester City with Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez.

Reports have claimed Manchester United have now entered the race to sign the Chile forward, who has been a long-term target for City.

The Premier League leaders failed in an attempt to sign Sanchez last summer but continue to be linked with the former Barcelona player and could move for him again this month.

Asked about the matter at his latest press conference, Guardiola said: "I understand completely this question, I understand you are doing your job, but you know my answer. I am not going (to speak about it).

"I'm focused on Liverpool, believe me. As a manager you have a lot of words to deal with and you have to choose which ones you want to be focused on. I want to be focused on what we have to do on the field. The game and (how to) play, that is my only concern.

"I would not like my players, when they see me on TV or read the newspapers, (to hear) the manager talking about another (player) and thinking they are not important. The important thing is what happens in 90 minutes on the field. That is what I want to speak (about)."

City boss Guardiola is confident the constant speculation linking City with Sanchez will not affect his players.

He said: "They have two choices - follow what you (the media) say or follow me. Hopefully I'll convince them to follow what I'm talking about - football on the pitch."

Guardiola was asked further how much of a disappointment would it be if City now missed out on Sanchez to another club, but again he would not be drawn.

He said: "The quality of Alexis - everyone knows how good he is - but it is Liverpool. I am not going to answer about Alexis or other players."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, has stressed that Sanchez will only be allowed to leave the Emirates Stadium this month if a replacement is found.

Wenger said: "Of course I want a quick resolution.

"Is he (Sanchez) replaceable in the way that we find exactly the same player? Certainly not, but there's always a way to find a different balance.

"Alexis is an exceptional football player, he's a world-class player and if that happens (and he leaves) we have to find a different balance in the team.

"I have had many conversations about him and we talked about the fact that people are always observing you with a microscope when you're on a short-term contract, but I've never questioned his professional attitude when he's on the football pitch."

Arsenal would not be able to extract full value for Sanchez because he is out of contract at the end of the season, but the interest of another club such as United could aid the Gunners.

Wenger said: "A bidding war is always beneficial to the club who can take advantage of it. We are not in that.

"I maintain what I've said many times. Normally, he should stay here until the end of the season but we'll see."

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