Manchester United wanted to sign Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben, reveals Pep Guardiola

The Bayern Munich manager says the players weren't interested in a move to Old Trafford

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The Independent Online

The Bayern Munich manager, Pep Guardiola, has revealed that Manchester United wanted to buy a clutch of his players this summer but the Old Trafford club’s wealth was not enough to persuade them to leave.

Guardiola nodded when it was put to him ahead of his side’s opening Champions League fixture against Manchester City tonight that United tried to buy Thomas Müller, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben as they embarked on their huge spending spree this summer. But he declared that even United’s wealth means nothing when players do not want to make a move.

“They don’t have enough money,” Guardiola said of United’s outlay of more than £150m, breaking the British transfer record for Angel Di Maria and assembling an all-star new squad. “I saw they spent this kind of money. They didn’t have enough money. I saw they spent a lot of money. It’s good for my friend Louis [van Gaal]. It’s part of the game. All of the clubs in the world want the players of another club. It depends on the player. If the player wants to play he will play. If he wants to stay he will stay. I know Manchester wants these kinds of players.”

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The Spaniard, who confirmed Franck Ribéry’s knee injury will keep him out of tonight’s match, warned that United’s absence from the competition confirmed the risks big clubs incur if they are complacent about qualifying for the Champions League, year after year. It is 18 years since United were last absent from the tournament, as they are this season.

“It’s a good lesson for the big clubs,” Guardiola said. “They think, ‘We are unbeatable and strong’, and they are not here. Maybe the next season they are out. That’s why football is magnificent. Every single week you have to be ready. Every week you have got to show you are ready.”


The extraordinary gulf in spending this summer between the Premier League – whose clubs laid out £835m – and the Bundesliga, where the outlay was £250m, is symbolised by Xabi Alonso. He joined Bayern from Real Madrid for £5m while even Fulham in the Championship laid out double that amount to Leeds United for Ross McCormack.

Guardiola said that he would like to have a Premier League-sized spending pot too, but insisted Bayern were growing in a more incremental way. “We would like to spend that money too,” he said. “When the Premier League is spending, that’s because they have this money.

“This club in the last 24 years has been judged for success. It’s a long process here. They care about the fans.

“That’s why this club is fascinating, amazing, special in this way. You have to fight and we’re going to try, we knew that. We can spend money when need to buy a player but also within the regular rules.”

Guardiola did not entirely dismiss the idea of managing in the Premier League, saying: “I always get the same question, City, Manchester and  Arsenal.

“I don’t know. I’m really happy here. When I was at Barcelona I never thought I’d become manager of Bayern Munich.”

On Ribéry, Guardiola added: “He is definitely not playing, he’s at home. He has to go to doctors and they told me he cannot play, that’s all. Arjen [Robben] could play – we will try.”