Ahead of the curtain raiser encounter with Arsenal in the FA Community Shield, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has confessed that Arsenal’s summer signings have taken them to the “next level.”
The London club lost the Premier League title to Manchester city and have signed Kai Havertz, Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber for a combined total of £208m as part of efforts to push for the title again in 2023/24 season.
The Gunners also struggled against the Cityzens as they lost all the encounters they had with Manchester City last season.
When asked whether Arsenal have stepped up a level as a result of their summer business, Guardiola said: “Yes, definitely.
“Mikel has brought Arsenal back into the position they were.”
He added that “There are a lot of teams that are going to fight for everything and the challenge is massive for us.
“You cannot win more than we won – it’s impossible. But the challenge is how hungry we are and if we still have the desire to defend what we won.
“We will see during the next 11 months, particularly during the lower moments – and we will have more of them than ever – how we can overcome.”
The 2022/23 Premier League champions also showed interest in the newly signed Arsenal midfielder before City bowed out.
Pep Guardiola stressed that he’s “absolutely not,” disappointed by not signing the midfielder. He said, “Declan Rice rightly decided to go to Arsenal. The offer was incredible. All the best because I think he is a really important player.
“I think he is a very nice guy. For the national team he is, and will be, important. Arsenal bought an incredible player.”
Commenting on the readiness of his team ahead of the season, Guardiola said, “normally when you win the titles that we won, they give you the chance to fight for new ones”.
“We played in this competition for the last three years, we play Sevilla in the next weeks and in Saudi Arabia in the winter.
“Of course we are going to try. We finished two weeks later than Arsenal, our pre-season started two weeks later than Arsenal, so we are not in the best way.
“Always we struggle to restart every season. But it’s a final and hopefully our mentality will help us to be there and compete against them.”