Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted that he “does not mind” that talented youngster Brahim Diaz has left his club – explaining that he doesn’t want players “who do not want to stay here” to remain with the team.
The 19-year-old left Manchester to sign a six-and-a-half-year contract worth more than £21m with the Spanish giants over the weekend, with his presentation to the home support taking place on Monday.
Diaz joined City from Malaga aged 14 in 2013 and has always looked liked promising talent, making 15 first-team appearances during his time with the English club.
However, Guardiola was accepting of his decision to move on ahead of City’s League Cup semi-final meeting with Burton Albion this week, saying: “Hopefully other players won’t decide to move on.
As quoted by BBC Sport. he continued: “I don’t want people who don’t want to stay here, to be with us and try to achieve what we want to achieve. If players want to stay, the door is always open for them.”
When asked if he was disappointed that Diaz had left the club for Madrid, Guardiola said he was not – he then added: “I wish him all the best.”
Diaz is not the first young prospect to leave City in recent times. The now much coveted Jadon Sancho joined Borussia Dortmund last year, and has flourished since leaving England in pursuit of regular first team football.
Naturally, the moves of Diaz and Sancho will be compared to the highly-rated 18-year-old Phil Foden, who remains at City and has made eight Premier League appearances this season.
On the topic, Guardiola said: “We did the same with Brahim as we did with Phil and Jadon. They are important players but the only one who decided to stay was Phil.
“Players win opportunities on the field. You have to take a look at all big clubs in Europe at how many young players there are in their first teams. Young players need time – David Silva for example, he went on loan to big clubs to become what he is right now.
“Some players have patience, some don’t. The players, their family, their agent; they decide what is best for them.”
As the English game begins to earn itself a reputation for letting its best talent leave without properly offering up decent first team opportunities, Guardiola said managers needed to have ‘more courage’ in their younger players.
He solution was to call for a second league to be created in order to create a pathway for younger players to break into Premier League clubs’ first teams.
“Create a good second league and you will see how many players make it to the Premier League,” he explained. “Perhaps then managers in the Premier League will have more courage to play them.”