Pep Guardiola has said he feels no anger towards Alexis Sanchez despite losing out on the chance to sign him for Manchester City.
Sanchez looked set to reunite with his former Barcelona boss at the Etihad Stadium, only for Premier League leaders City to pull out of the deal on Monday.
It is understood Guardiola, club owner Khaldoon al Mubarak and other senior City officials were all unhappy at the wages that the Chile forward was demanding.
Sanchez is instead set to join City’s local rivals Manchester United, currently their closest title challengers, from Arsenal on a four-and-a-half year contract reportedly worth a staggering £505,000 a week ($701,000, 572,000 euros).
Guardiola suggested both the player and his agent Fernando Felicevich had driven the decision to choose a move to Old Trafford rather than push for a transfer to City –- but insisted that was their right.
He added it was a “pleasure” to manage Sanchez, the player he signed for Barcelona from Udinese in July 2011.
“I’m not the guy with the mathematics, with the numbers,” Guardiola told a news conference on Friday.
“What I know right now is that he (Sanchez) is still an Arsenal player.
“I think he is going to United so congratulations to both of them. At the end, the players, when they have contenders, they decide where they want to play.
“Their managers (agents) decide where they want to play. They decide that. Good luck (to them).
“My opinion on Alexis remains the same. It was a pleasure to be with him at Barcelona. He was going to decide to move on to another club, so I wish him all the best.”
Meanwhile Guardiola suggested he had no signings in the pipeline for the remainder of the January transfer window, adding there was “no news” when asked if he was making progress in his bid to sign a central defender.
Guardiola, formerly in charge of Bayern Munich as well as Barcelona, explained he only wanted to sign “nice people” whom he felt would fit in with his current squad at the Etihad.
“At all the clubs around the world, when you take players in winter or in summer, it’s to improve and to achieve the club’s goals.
“I always believe that if players are to adapt quickly, it depends on their quality, and it depends if they are nice people. We are looking for nice people to come to help if we believe we need them.”
Guardiola added that left-back Fabian Delph will be out “for a while” with a knee injury, while captain Vincent Kompany is unlikely to play against Newcastle on Saturday as he recovers from a calf strain.
“Fabian Delph will be out for a while, I don’t know how long,” the manager said. “Vincent is much better. I don’t know about this weekend but hopefully he will be ready for the next games.”
Guardiola believes Delph’s absence will leave a major hole in the squad, but is reluctant to be panicked into signing a replacement.
“Right now, in the next weeks, we have a problem,” he said. “We’ve had it all season. We started with just one (left) full-back because we had spent enough money on other full-backs, we knew that.
“Now we have the problem with Fabian, we are going to see how we solve it. He is out not just for two games — it will be longer.
“In these situations, we depend on the mentality of the players, on whether they can make a step forward.
“It’s a question of whether they can play in positions that are not natural for them and if the other guys can help them.”