Pep Guardiola says all his record-breaking Manchester City players deserve to stay at the club for “many, many years”, but accepts some of them may leave this summer.
City visit Arsenal on Sunday having created the longest winning streak of any English top-flight side with 17 consecutive victories, while opening up a 10-point Premier League lead over nearest challengers Leicester and Manchester United.
The real challenge for Guardiola might be to improve his squad in the transfer market this summer. But the City manager was more interested in discussing his current players when future planning was discussed ahead of the trip to the Emirates Stadium.
“What I believe is all the players that we have deserve to stay here for many, many years,” Guardiola said.
“The quality they have is exceptional, there’s no doubts. But year by year the situation is different because there are players who accept some roles and some that don’t.
“It’s not about the quality, it’s about accepting that sometimes you don’t play and in that moment the player has to leave.
“There are players, for age, personality or many reasons, that accept all the roles. Other ones don’t accept it, when they play it is perfect but it is a problem when they don’t play with the team.
“These players have to reflect and speak with their agents and the club and decide the best for them especially, and for the club as well, so I don’t know what is going to happen next season.”
Veteran midfielder Fernandinho and Sergio Aguero are both out of contract this summer, with City’s record goalscorer admitting he does not know what the future holds beyond the current campaign.
Aguero has scored 256 goals since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2011, but the 32-year-old has made just five Premier League appearances this season due to injury and a spell on the sidelines after contracting Covid-19.
In a short interview with YouTuber Ibai Llanos, Aguero said: “I finish my contract at the end of the season and I don’t know what to do yet. I don’t have an idea.
“The first thing I want to do is play football, and at the end of the season we will see.
“I will keep playing until my body allows me to. I hope that I can continue for a few more years.”
Pep not getting carried away just yet
City brushed aside Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday as a 3-1 victory saw them become the first Premier League team to win their opening 10 games in a calendar year.
Asked whether this was the most dominant team of his City tenure, Guardiola reflected on the 2017-18 campaign when his side won the title with 100 points.
He said: “This season we are not going to get to 100 points. That was the best season, the numbers speak for itself. No-one has done 100 points.
“Even the second league we won when we made 98 points, we played incredible football games too. To win the Premier League you have to be consistent and so dominant.
“We have been doing this the last two months incredibly well but, as I’ve said, in the springtime no one is champion.
“We will only get the credit we deserve at the end of the season if we are champions. If not, it’s just a short part of the season.”