Guardiola defends huge City spending as Mahrez rumours emerge

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Pep Guardiola has defended the huge spending by Manchester City since he took charge in the wake of the club-record deal for Aymeric Laporte.

The centre-back signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with the Premier League leaders after they activated his buy-out clause at Athletic Bilbao, which was valued at close to £57million.

Laporte's arrival takes City's spending to close to £448m in the 19 months in which Guardiola has been manager, with roughly £206.25m of that investment being made on defenders.

There could yet be further business done before the transfer window closes on Wednesday, with City reportedly keen on signing Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City to provide cover for Leroy Sane, who is expected to miss up to seven weeks with an ankle injury.

Guardiola says he can accept criticism regarding City's spending but insists it is necessary to improve the quality of his entire squad.

"Some clubs spend £300million on two players, we spent it on six players," he told a news conference on Tuesday. "Last summer, we had six or seven out of contract and decided to sign six or seven more.

"You need to spend to stay at the same high level. Maybe one day we'll spend £200million on a player. It's up to the club how to spend their money; we decided to do it now. We might sign one or two in the summer.

"The inflation of the market, every player costs a lot. We spend the money on six or seven players while others do it on one or two. We accept criticism."