Guardiola responds to De Jong claims

Pep Guardiola
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11: Josep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City speaks to the media during the Manchester City Press Conference ahead of their UEFA CHampions League Group F match against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at Etihad Stadium on December 11, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Following Ernesto Valverde’s criticism of Pep Guardiola for tapping up Frenkie de Jong, the  Manchester City boss has come out to clear the air in a recent interview.

The Ajax midfielder has agreed to an €86million deal to join Barca for the 2019-20 season.

But the Dutch sensation confirmed in an interview he held talks with both Paris Saint-Germain and City manager Guardiola before choosing the Catalan giants.

Valverde was infuriated with this revelation, telling reporters via FourFourTwo: “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.”

However, when quizzed about the incident ahead of City’s Premier League game away to Newcastle United on Tuesday, Guardiola responded to Valverde’s comments.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Josep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City speaks with Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Manchester City at Goodison Park on February 06, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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“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].”

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.