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Pep Guardiola: Manchester City rejected the chance to sign Paul Pogba in January

Pep Guardiola has hit back at super-agent Mino Raiola, who recently branded him a “dog” and “coward”, with the remarkable revelation that Raiola offered Manchester United pair Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Manchester City in January.

Guardiola decided to respond to Raiola at his press-Manchester derby press conference in embargoed comments that have been released early after Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio posted them – much to the annoyance of the British press who were deprived of their 10.30pm scoop.

“I will answer him; I don’t understand why I am,” Guardiola said. “Finally, the people discover my secrets – a bad guy. I’m a coward. I don’t understand why I am a so bad guy. I never speak with him so his opinion [about me], I don’t know. But being a guy who two months ago offered me Mkhitaryan and Pogba to play with us. Why?

“Why did he offer? He was interested in Mhikitaryan and Pogba to play with us? So he has to protect his players and has to know he cannot bring the players to a guy like me, like a dog. And comparing a dog is bad. It’s not good. He has to respect the dogs.”

So what does Guardiola think of Pogba and why didn’t City take up Mino on his offer?

“Pogba is an incredible player … a top, top player.

“I said no. We don’t have the money enough to buy Pogba because he is so expensive. I’m surprised because I am a dog. He wants his players to come to here. So, no. No way.

“I am not a good guy. He deserves his players to play with better guys. But, he knows as well I am a top manager. Thank you.”

Mino Raiola has already responded to Pep’s comments and denied his claims, but suggested he may have gone to the club itself.

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