'Pep can make €80m transfer, send him away and buy another!': Mourinho takes aim at Guardiola

Suraj Radia
Suraj Radia
  • Updated: 14 Dec 2023 19:08 GMT
  • 3 min read
Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola
© ProShots

Jose Mourinho threw fuel into the fire of his long-running rivalry with Pep Guardiola, expressing how the Manchester City manager is able to ‘send away’ Kalvin Phillips despite spending big on the midfielder.

Mourinho was responding to the difficulties surrounding his AS Roma side, who are sitting 4th in Serie A, and unable to deal with their recent injury crisis by signing players in January.

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The Portuguese manager compared his situation to City’s, where Guardiola is expected to allow Phillips to leave in January despite buying him for €49 million 18 months ago.

“Look, not that I’m jealous, but Manchester City, for example, paid €80m for Phillips. And now in January, Pep said he will send him away and buy another [midfielder],” Mourinho said.

“We are in a different reality. I would like one, two, three or four players, and [Roma sporting director] Tiago Pinto and the owners would like them too.

“We all want to try to improve the team to be stronger for the second half of the season. But we have difficulties in trying to do that.’

Jose Mourinho is dealing with a host of injuries at Roma
© ProShots - Jose Mourinho is dealing with a host of injuries at Roma

Mourinho struggling to make ends meet with defender crisis

Phillips is expected to depart the Etihad this winter after playing just 89 minutes in the Premier League this season, with Newcastle and Manchester United having been linked to the 28-year-old in recent weeks.

City are unlikely to be able to recoup the money they paid for Phillips, meaning a loan is more likely, while Guardiola may look to replace the England international if he does leave, having also brought in midfielders Matheus Nunes and Mateo Kovacic during the summer for a combined €92m.

Mourinho, meanwhile, have struggled with financial fair play restrictions and only spent €2.5m in the summer and the Roma boss has had to deal with a host of his defenders being absent recently.

“I say it honestly: if we get a defender in the January market I'm already happy,” Mourinho said. "We can't do much more than bring in a central defender.

“[Chris] Smalling will not be in January, [Evan] Ndicka is leaving (Africa Cup), [Gianluca] Mancini is injured and [Diego] Llorente is holding out. And therein lies our difficulty. Great.”

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