Man City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak says Pep Guardiola was desperate to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal last year. Al Mubarak was interviewed in Amazon’s newly-released fly-on-the-wall documentary ‘All or Nothing: Manchester City’ and he revealed that Guardiola was very keen to get Sanchez to The Etihad before he eventually signed for Manchester United in a straight swap for Henrikh Mkhitaryan in January this year.
Al Mubarak offers some insight into why the club did not sign long-term target Sanchez. City were strongly linked with the Chile forward – then at Arsenal – in summer 2017, and again in January this year, when he eventually joined United. “We identified him as a player that was a good fit for this club,” said Al Mubarak. “Pep was very keen to have him join (in 2017) but it didn’t happen.
“We looked at the situation again in January but the situation changed for us from how we looked at it in the summer and how we looked at it in the winter. “And the reality is the economics simply didn’t work any more.”
Meanwhile, Guardiola described Raheem Sterling as “devastated” by a costly miss in Manchester City’s 1-1 Premier League draw at Burnley last season. The City boss painted an impassioned portrait of Sterling’s feelings and his battle to sharpen up his finishing. City broke a host of records en route to Premier League glory last term but suffered a rare slip at Turf Moor on February 3.
England forward Sterling struck 23 goals for City in all competitions last term but continues to be criticised for his finishing. In the wake of that Burnley draw, when Sterling missed from close range, manager Guardiola was shown praising the player’s attitude in an extended discussion with coach Mikel Arteta. “Yesterday I talked with Raheem and I must say, he’s such a good guy,” Guardiola told Arteta. “I said, ‘Were you p***** off?’ He said, ‘Devastated’. “I told him, ‘We didn’t lose because of you’.
“He said, ‘We lost because of my fault, of my s***. It would have been 0-2’. “And I said to him, ‘Just so you know, I changed you because of the mistake. You can’t miss a chance like that. I expect you not to make mistakes. You can’t miss that one’. “And he said, ‘You’re right. I can’t make that mistake. I can’t’.” Amazon’s eight-part documentary of City’s extraordinary season, released on Friday, lifts the lid on life in Guardiola’s dressing room. The animated boss is seen telling his players to “hate me” after drawing at Crystal Palace while his half-time team talk during the Carabao Cup final at Wembley is both passionate and inspirational.
Snippets of a touchline row with then Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger during that game are also shown, as is some footage of the tunnel fracas during City’s shock FA Cup loss to Wigan. Fabian Delph is also seen slamming the dressing room door after his sending off. The attack on the City bus by Liverpool supporters as the team arrived at Anfield for their Champions League quarter-final in April is also covered. As was reported at the time, Guardiola did sarcastically say, “Thank you for protecting us,” as he stepped off the bus, although it was not clear whom he was speaking to.
Also in the documentary, the likes of Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus offer insights into their recoveries from injury while Vincent Kompany shows much of his character. The City captain comes across well as he speaks to a group of children about Nelson Mandela and he shows his family side by watching Manchester United’s loss to West Brom – the result that confirmed City as champions – on TV with his in-laws.