The manager’s failure to strengthen at centre-back has been quickly exposed by Vincent Kompany’s calf injury before Saturday’s visit of Liverpool.
Kompany has been ruled out with a recurrence of a problem that has plagued the captain in recent seasons and will revive concern about his long-term availability. West Brom’s valuation of Evans is thought to be around £25m.
Guardiola began the summer targeting Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk but the club hierarchy balked at a fee in the region of £60m. Evans was viewed as a more affordable option yet Guardiola said City did not have the funds despite believing they could buy Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez on the window’s final day. The Chilean’s price was an initial £55m.
Guardiola said of Evans: “My colleague Tony Pulis [West Brom’s manager] put a price that we couldn’t afford at that moment. I don’t know about the summer or next season but now he’s a player for West Brom. We will survive. In the end we spent money, we sold players. We bought five players who cost around £35m each. It’s not a big issue because we sold a lot. We’ve got money to invest again. I’m happy with the squad and we’ll move forward with that.”
The quintet were three full-backs, Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy, the goalkeeper Ederson and the attacking midfielder Bernardo Silva. Guardiola, asked whether a central defender was ever a priority, said: “We wanted one but we were not able. It wasn’t possible. We had a little bit more money to spend but not that much. We cannot go without any full-backs, which were a real priority.
“If [Eliaquim] Mangala had gone I’m pretty sure we would’ve bought a new one. Because he stayed it made no sense to buy another. We cannot change 11 players. We changed some last season, five in that season and with four in one position. Maybe you believe that because we’re Manchester City we could do that [buy a new one]. We are going to survive in that position. To change a team, you don’t only need one transfer window. We need more time. Even with two windows it’s not possible. We have no regrets, no complaints. The club made a huge effort.”
Kompany suffered the injury in Belgium’s 9-0 victory over Gibraltar. It brings an end to the 31-year-old’s run of 11 consecutive appearances, the longest for three years.
Guardiola has only two fit frontline operators in the position, Nicolás Otamendi and John Stones. Of Kompany he said: “I do not think he will be available for Liverpool. I am sad. The last seven eight, nine games last season he played no problem. Pre-season, we took care of him and he played all three games. Now, unfortunately, we’ve lost him, but we will try and get him fit as soon as possible.”
In the window Raheem Sterling was proposed as part of a swap deal for Sánchez. Yet Guardiola said: “Arsenal wanted to make a swap with Raheem. They talked to me and I said no chance. Zero chance.”
Guardiola did not rule out a return for Sánchez in the January window. “Sometimes deals happen, sometimes not. I don’t know what will happen in the winter time. He is an Arsenal player.”
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