Was offered Pogba, Mkhitaryan in January by agent: Guardiola
London : Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he was recently offered Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba by the player’s agent, Mino Raiola.
Guardiola’s revelation added extra spice to Saturday’s derby between City and United at Etihad Stadium. City can clinch the Premier League title with a win.
Guardiola was responding to a question about Raiola, who said in an interview last month the City coach is “absolute zero … a coward, a dog.”
“Finally, the people discover my secrets _ I am a bad guy, I’m a coward,” Guardiola said sarcastically. “I don’t understand why I am such a bad guy. I never speak with him, so his influence on my opinion… I don’t know.”
“But … two months ago, he offered me (Henrikh) Mkhitaryan and Pogba to play with us. Why?”
Mkhitaryan played for United, alongside Pogba, until he joined Arsenal in the January transfer window.
Soon after Guardiola’s comments were published, Pogba posted a tweet in which he wrote: “Say what?”
United has yet to comment officially.
There has been hostility between Guardiola and Raiola since one of Raiola’s most high-profile clients, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was forced out of Barcelona when Guardiola coached the Spanish team.
Guardiola said he responded to Raiola’s offer of Pogba by saying City “don’t have enough money to buy Pogba because he is so expensive.”
Asked if he was surprised by Raiola’s offer, Guardiola said: “I’m surprised because I am a dog, that’s why … So, like a dog, he wants his players to come here. So, no. No way.”
Pogba joined United in 2016 for a then-world record fee of about 105 million euros ($116 million).
The France midfielder has started only five of United’s last 12 games, with manager Jose Mourinho sometimes preferring youth-team graduate Scott McTominay ahead of Pogba.
“Pogba is an incredible player,” Guardiola said. “A top, top player.”
City leads second-place United by 16 points and can clinch the title in record time by winning the derby at home.