Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola
Under pressure... Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is preparing his team for a title defence which begins today away at Tottenham. Image Credit: Reuters

London: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has defended the Premier League champions’ transfer spending in the wake of the British record signing of midfielder Jack Grealish, saying the club adhere to Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

European soccer governing body UEFA’s FFP rules were introduced in 2009 to prevent clubs spending beyond their means and distorting the market, requiring teams to break even and keep wages and transfer fees in line with income.

In July last year, City’s two-year suspension from European football was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after it ruled that City did not breach FFP rules.

The club’s spending has raised questions again after they signed Grealish for 100 million pounds from Aston Villa, but Guardiola said the deal was possible because of 60 million pounds worth of sales by the club over the past 12 months.

“We have limits because of FFP,” Guardiola said. “We are on the same page like everyone. After that, each club decides what they want to do. Every season we have passed the controls that are there for everyone. If we are wrong, prove it. I have said before, there are owners who want the benefits for themselves. Our owners don’t want to lose money but if they can spend, they will.”

Title defence

British media have reported City are also ready to pay in excess of 120 million pounds to sign Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane as they look to replace Sergio Aguero, who left City at the end of last season after a decade-long association.

City begin their Premier League title defence with a trip to Tottenham Hotspur later today and will be without Phil Foden for up to four weeks due to the foot injury he suffered on England duty at Euro 2020.

Kevin de Bruyne is also absent as a result of the ankle injury he sustained during Belgium’s Euro 2020 quarter-final loss against Italy.

There are doubts that Spurs captain Kane will be physically ready for the season opener and mentally prepared, given the widespread speculation over his future. He trained with the squad for the first time on Friday following a five-day quarantine period after returning late from his holiday.

New signings Cristian Romero and Bryan Gil could be involved.