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Pep Guardiola admits Man City couldn't afford Harry Maguire

Leicester defender Maguire closing in on move to Manchester United

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Pep Guardiola congratulated Manchester United as they move closer to signing Harry Maguire

Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester City could not afford Harry Maguire, and congratulated Manchester United on securing the defender.

Maguire has been seen leaving Manchester United's training ground as his world-record transfer from Leicester edges closer.

City had also been interested in the England man, but Guardiola, speaking after City's Community Shield win over Liverpool on Sunday, said the club could not afford it.

Asked if Maguire would turn United into title challengers, Guardiola said: "Yeah. Maguire is an excellent, top-class player.

"We were interested, but we could not afford it. United afford it. He's an excellent player, national team too, he had an incredible World Cup.

Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp during the Community Shield
Image: Guardiola says City were interested but could not afford Maguire

"He's strong in the air, good with the ball, the build-up, he drives with the ball, he's fast, so fast. He has all the qualities. Congratulations to United for this signature."

City won the first silverware of the season with a penalty shoot-out win over Liverpool, following an entertaining 1-1 draw at Wembley.

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Having won back-to-back titles, Guardiola was asked if it would be another two-horse race with Liverpool this season, but the Catalan said United and others are always contenders at the start of the season.

"I don't know if it will be like last season, two real contenders, I think United with Maguire and the other players, Arsenal too, Chelsea and Tottenham. I think there will be many, many contenders this time," said Guardiola.

Harry Maguire and Brendan Rodgers
Image: Maguire with Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers

"I think at the beginning of the season, all six of these teams are contenders. People say we are going to win the title, that has no meaning, I don't care. The next game against West ham.

"But for United, it doesn't matter what happened in the last four or five years. Always, in the beginning, they are contenders to be champions of course, like Chelsea and Liverpool and whoever."

'Maguire a future Utd captain'

Maguire will prove to be a 'future captain' of the club, according to Henry Winter.

"He's a leader, he's a future Manchester United captain," he told Sunday Supplement. "Anyone who's interviewed him, or spent any time around him, knows he's a good character. I think it's a great buy.

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Henry Winter tells the Sunday Supplement incoming Manchester United defender Maguire will be a future captain of the club

"Manchester United would have liked him about three weeks ago, but it's a fantastic signing. He'll bring a smile back to that dressing room because he's such an engaging character."

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