Pep Guardiola dismisses claim that Manchester City have strengthened Arsenal and Chelsea

    Gabriel Jesus has been key for Arsenal since his arrival from Manchester City (PA)

    Pep Guardiola insists he had no intention of stopping Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from joining Arsenal and believes players deserve to choose where they want to play.

    City have been accused of strengthening their Premier League rivals by allowing Jesus and Zinchenko to join Arsenal in the summer, while the champions also gave the green light for Raheem Sterling’s £50 million switch to Chelsea.

    Mikel Arteta’s side have made an early case to be City’s closest title challengers following their impressive start to the season.

    And Guardiola believes Jesus and Zinchenko earned the right to decide to leave City to seek a new challenge with Arsenal.

    ‘Every player is different. I think for a point of view the guys gave us what they gave us, like [Sterling, Zinchenko and Jesus],’ said Guardiola.

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 22: Manchester Citys Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko in action at Manchester City Football Academy on November 22, 2021 in Manchester, England.
    Pep Guardiola says he did not try to prevent Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from joining Arsenal (Getty)

    ‘What they gave us, they deserve to choose where they want to play. If they don’t want to go to Arsenal or Chelsea they would stay here. But if they stay here, why do we have to say you cannot be there?

    ‘All the people they care about, their family. They believe it’s not enough, who are we to say to their family you cannot go there? I don’t like it.

    ‘If Arsenal are stronger it’s okay, they arrive in agreement with the club, transfer with the club, everyone is happy.

    ‘Thanks to them we are where we are right now. Before with Joe Hart, David Silva, [Vincent] Kompany, [Sergio] Aguero, thanks to them we are who we are.

    ‘This is a process like families. Grandfathers, fathers, sons, daughters, it’s the same.’

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