PEP GUARDIOLA has sensationally revealed he was offered the chance to land Paul Pogba in January.
The explosive claim comes on the eve of the Manchester derby, with City able to wrap up the Premier League title with six games to spare if they beat Jose Mourinho’s side.
Manchester City boss Gaurdiola has lobbed a grenade into the build-up to the Etihad clash by saying Mino Raiola, Pogba’s agent, touted both the Manchester United midfielder and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in his direction.
Pep said: “Two months ago he (Raiola) offered me (Henrikh) Mhikitaryan and Pogba to play with us. Why?
“He was interested in Mhikitaryan and Pogba to play with us. Pogba is an incredible player. A top, top player.”
The £89million United signing has since appeared to respond by posting a snap on Instagram, with the cryptic caption: “Say what?”
Pogba’s relationship with Mourinho has appeared at breaking point in recent weeks, despite the France ace claiming there is no issue with his manager.
He was dropped for a league win over Huddersfield at the start of February and was only named as a substitute in both legs of United’s chastening Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla.
Mourinho is believed to be frustrated with Raiola’s regular trips to check up on clients Romelu Lukaku and Pogba at United’s Carrington training base.
Playmaker Mkhitaryan, another player in his stable, departed for Arsenal in straight swap deal that brought Alexis Sanchez to Old Trafford in January.
City boss Guardiola went on to make a stinging attack on the superagent, who branded him a “coward” and “a dog” last month.
Pep sarcastically blasted: “He (Raiola) has to protect his players and he has to know he cannot bring the players to a guy like me, like a dog.
“Comparing (me to) a dog is bad. It’s not good. He has to respect the dogs. Finally, the people discover my secrets, I am a bad guy. I’m a coward.
“I am not a good guy. He deserves his players to play with better guys. But, he said as well that I am a top manager. Thank you!”
The feud between the duo dates back to Guardiola’s handling of Zlatan Ibrahimovic during their single season together at Barcelona in 2009-10.
Pep believes his time at the Nou Camp showed him that, whenever City clinch the title, becoming champions will only make next season more difficult.
He explained: “Never is it going to happen again that. Never. Eighteen games won in a row? No way. It’s impossible.
“The opponents want to beat you, you’re a little bit more relaxed, the big achievement is already done so your intensity is sometimes [lower].
“I have experience of that. I was in Barcelona four years and handled when you win, you win, you win – it’s so more demanding. Next season will be so, so complicated for us. That is not going to happen again. It’s impossible.”
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