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City will make a move for ‘special talent’, Pep

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is plotting a Premier League title defence © AFP/File / Glyn KIRK

LONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 3 – Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said Friday he will only dip into the transfer market for a “special” talent after a relatively quiet summer of business for the Premier League champions.

City’s only high-profile signing so far has been Riyad Mahrez from Leicester in a club-record £60 million ($78 million) deal but Italy international midfielder Jorginho plumped for Chelsea.

“We will see,” Guardiola said of the club’s transfer business ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield match against FA Cup winners Chelsea.

“If at the end we decide to bring another one, it is because he’s a special player, can be a special player for the future, not to have one more player for the number.

“So, I’m so satisfied — all my period here, even the first year — with the squad we have. Now from Monday we’ll be all together. We are going to start to think what we have do to this season to maintain the level of last season.”

Several players are likely to move on before the window closes on Thursday, with goalkeeper Joe Hart looking to make a permanent exit after difficult loan spells at Torino and West Ham.

Guardiola said he was delighted that Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus, 21, had signed a contract extension.

“Gabriel has improved a lot since he came,” the City boss said. “His courage, his fight to put every effort for the team is incredible.”

Jesus is one of a number of players back in the City reckoning after the World Cup, with Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling the only squad members yet to return to the fold.

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Summer signing Mahrez has been given the green light to feature at Wembley on Sunday after an ankle complaint but Guardiola is unable to call upon midfielder Douglas Luiz as he waits on a work permit.

– Jorginho swoop –

New Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri swooped in at the last minute to bring Jorginho to Stamford Bridge from Napoli.

“We were close but, in the end, Jorginho decided to stay with (former Napoli boss) Maurizio,” Guardiola said.”

Despite missing out on the Italy international, Guardiola spoke positively about Sarri.

“The team already in a short time plays like he wants,” the City boss said. “Of course, he needs more time to work but his ideas are already there, so I think it’ll be a good game (on Sunday).

“Always Chelsea is a big rival. Antonio (Conte) was. I am delighted that players with this style of play will be perfect for English football. I am so happy he came here.”

Guardiola said his team wanted to win the Community Shield to get their season off to a flying start but admitted they would not better last season’s results in the Premier League.

“In terms of results, in the Premier League I cannot overcome the results, the numbers of last season, but in the way we play, yes,” he said.

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“And in other competitions, the FA Cup and Champions League, always we can do better. If I felt it’s done and we cannot improve I would not be here. I stay here because I think we can improve, but to get more than 100 points — no.”

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