Pep Guardiola has issued a warning to the Manchester City stars who ‘want to be more important’ than the rest of the squad.
And the Blues boss has warned that group of up to four players, that they need to bring a solid transfer plan to the table if they want to leave this summer.
Guardiola revealed yesterday that up to four of his squad have expressed a desire to leave, but refused to name any names.
It is known that Bernardo Silva has, for the second summer running, expressed a desire to go to Spain or Portugal in this transfer window, and Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have both shown an interest.
There has also been speculation about the futures of Gabriel Jesus and Aymeric Laporte, who were both frustrated by their lack of action last season.
But the identity of all of the ‘two or three, four players who want to leave’ Guardiola mentioned remains unclear – although Bernardo, Jesus and Laporte appear to be three of them.
Guardiola warned them, and anyone else who does not accept that rotation and fighting for your place are a fact of life at City, that they need to get their agents to find a solution acceptable to the club if they want to go.
With the Spanish clubs in turmoil, the rest of Europe still reeling from the financial effects of the pandemic and City reluctant to sell to English clubs, that could prove difficult.
Asked to expand on his suggestion that Bernardo and others might want to go, Guardiola replied: “I didn’t say any names, not even Bernardo – someone suggested him.
“So everyone can take a decision – they are players who are going to stay here or start to train. Some cannot because they are isolating for ten days for the rules.”
And he added that those players either need to find a route out of the club that involves a transfer fee acceptable to the Blues or knuckle down and get on with it, and handed out a rap to those players who have complained about their lack of playing time.
“Every player knows the situation, how I conduct the team. Some players want to play every three days, all the time,” he said.
“There are no alternatives. When it’s happened – these kind of situations for a short time – and when it happens they have to leave.
“We are open to discussing absolutely everything. There are players who have to accept they cannot stay here if they want to play every game.
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“Now they must bring it to say I want to play every three days. If they don’t bring a team then they stay here and have to come with a smile.”
Guardiola was clearly annoyed at the attitude of some of his players last season, and laid it on the line that he makes all decisions based on merit.
He said: “When I arrived, every decision is for the best for the team, not for me or them.
“Some want to be more important. They have to find a solution before August 31. We’ve known each other for a long time.
“If they make a step forward, they can bring it to the club, they have to accept the reality, move forward and put their humanity and service to the benefit of Man City.
“That’s above everyone. That’s the only one to continue to have success in the last years.”