Pep Guardiola will not discuss whether Manchester City will try to sign Alexis Sanchez again — but his opinion of the Arsenal forward has not changed.
City failed in a deadline day bid to bring the Chile international to the Etihad Stadium but speculation persists that they may make another attempt, as the 28-year-old’s Gunners contract winds down, persists.
The matter has been thrown back into the spotlight as Sanchez prepares to play against City for the first time since the failed move as Arsenal visit the Premier League leaders tomorrow.
Yet while Guardiola says he will look to strengthen his squad again next summer, he will not be drawn on Sanchez in particular.
Speaking yesterday, the City boss said: “The transfer window is closed, so it’s not time to talk about that.
“You know my opinion on the players I have, (and) Alexis — you know my opinion, but he’s an Arsenal player. It’s not correct to talk about that, especially before we play them. He is such an important player for them, for the talent he has. We have to try to control him. Let’s just focus on that.”
Asked whether he would look to bring in another forward, Guardiola said: “I think next season we have to shake the team again a little.
“Not in terms like this season, where it was a lot because the average age was 28 or 29. Now we are a young team. But we’ll buy players, we’ll try to analyse well and buy the right players like we did last season and this season.”
City are in formidable form. They are unbeaten in 16 games this season and have won their last 14 games in a club record run.
They have scored 49 goals this term and last lost in April, when the Gunners edged them out with an extra-time Sanchez winner in the FA Cup semi-finals.
Their form has led to speculation they could go through the season unbeaten, a feat last achieved in the Premier League by Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ in the 2003-04 campaign.
Guardiola claims his side will not be able to match the accomplishment of Arsene Wenger’s side.
He said: “I would like to say to Arsene that this record belongs to him, we are not going to break it. It was an exceptional team, being unbeatable in the Premier League is something fantastic. We don’t want to break this record but we want to play good on Sunday and beat them.”
Meanwhile, Wenger insists Arsenal “will not hide” in Manchester tomorrow.
The Gunners qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League following a goalless draw with Red Star Belgrade on Thursday night.
Wenger made 11 changes for the tie against the Serbian SuperLiga outfit and is expected to make wholesale alterations for the visit to City.
Arsenal have won just once on the road in the league thus far but Wenger is keen to push City to their limits on Sunday.
“We have an opportunity to show that we can deal with those kind of games and I am sure we can,” he said.
“At the moment, we just have to prepare in a serious way with clarity and focus and give the maximum on Sunday.
“I wouldn’t like to come out on that but of course we will try to play our game. We will not hide.”
Meanwhile, 18-year-old midfielder Joe Willock has signed a new long-term contract at Arsenal.
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