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Guardiola ready for kick-off after quiet deadline

PepGuardiola - cropped Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (source: Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City remain in a position of strength despite a relatively quiet transfer window because of the significant investment they undertook last year.

A pre-season overhaul that featured the arrivals of Ederson, Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy, Danilo and Bernardo Silva at significant expense before the 2017-18 campaign – followed by the then club-record signing of Aymeric Laporte in January – laid the groundwork for a record-breaking title win.

Winger Riyad Mahrez joined City from Leicester City for £65million to replace Laporte as City’s biggest buy in July but their only other business concerned their next generation.

Australian teenager Daniel Arzani is expected to join Celtic on loan after signing from sister club Melbourne City, while Claudio Gomes and Philippe Sandler arrived from Paris Saint-Germain and PEC Zwolle respectively.

Gomes and Sandler can each play in defensive midfield, where experienced cover for Fernandinho proved elusive.

“We are a strong team. We have invested a lot, over the last year especially because we had an old team and needed to be fresh for the next years,” Guardiola told City TV. “We did it.

“We trust them and we are going to finish [the transfer window] the way we are.”

Mahrez is in contention to start Sunday’s Premier League opener at Arsenal having done likewise in the 2-0 Community Shield victory over Chelsea but Guardiola concedes the Algeria international needs time to adjust to City’s style.

“I think he is ready. He made a good pre-season,” he said.

“He needs time to understand a little bit what we are looking for because he came from a club where they play completely differently – with huge success at Leicester, but different.

“We have to give it time and as soon as he is ready he will get it.”

Six of City’s starting line-up against Chelsea at Wembley only returned to training at the start of last week and 16 members of Guardiola’s squad overall featured at the World Cup.

Nevertheless, he does not feel such pre-season disruption is cause for complaint.

“We are okay because we are in our third season together,” he added. “We know exactly what we want to do.

“Sixteen players arrived late, which is why you need more time to be consistent. Sooner or later we will get it, the best condition.

“We have to adapt when you have injuries and sendings off and bad moments. A lot of players from our team went to the latter stages of the World Cup and you have to adapt to that.

“What do you win if you complain? They are not there – okay, we survive with the players we have like we did in the [pre-season] tour.”

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