Pep Guardiola has warned Manchester United counterpart Louis van Gaal that he will not be able to afford any of Bayern Munich’s players were he to make any moves in the January transfer window.
Manchester United were linked with several members of the Bayern squad over the course of the summer - Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger among them - but were unable to recruit any players from the Allianz Arena.
The club did go on to spend break their transfer record with the acquisition of Angel di Maria, while their total spending exceeded a staggering £150 million as Van Gaal set about significantly reinforcing his ranks.
However, despite this substantial transfer outlay, Guardiola claims that his players would be beyond the financial power of Manchester United and has informed Van Gaal he would be wasting his time in pursuit of anyone from Bayern Munich.
“They don't have enough money [to sign Bayern players],” Guardiola told reporters on Tuesday.
“I saw they spent a lot of money. That's good for my friend Louis.”
With Van Gaal having restructured his attacking options since this initial interest in the likes of Muller and Robben he would unlikely move for either of these two players again, regardless of the warning shot fired by Guardiola.
Muller, of course, has signed a new contract, while the arrival of Di Maria would appear to be one to signal the end of any supposed interest in Robben, who starred under Van Gaal with the Netherlands.
But given the club’s failure to sufficiently bolster their defence before the transfer deadline, it would be a player or two in these positions that Van Gaal would target were he to harbour a genuine desire to sign anyone from Bayern.
United had been linked with a move for Mehdi Benatia before the Moroccan centre-back moved from Rome to Munich, and it remains an area in which the club remain in need of at least one player of repute.
The summer departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand saw Manchester United lose 750 games worth experience with the club, yet not a single out-and-out central defender arrived to compensate.
Marcos Rojo was acquired to offer cover at centre-back, but made his debut against Queens Park Rangers on the left-side of defence with 20-year-old Tyler Blackett tasked with playing alongside Jonny Evans in the middle.