Manchester City are not interested in signing a centre-back in the January transfer window, Pep Guardiola has insisted.

The Blues were keen to sign a replacement for Vincent Kompany in summer but, put off by Leicester's price for Harry Maguire and a perceived lack of value in the rest of the market, opted to make do with the options they already had and instead bought full-back Joao Cancelo in from Juventus.

That strategy has been questioned after Aymeric Laporte, their best defender, suffered a serious injury in the home win over Brighton last month with the latest estimates ruling the Frenchman out for six months. Despite such a setback, the City manager maintains that the plan is to manage without a new recruit - in part because the money is still not there.

"My advice to you is not to write too many names about the winter transfer window because you are going to make a mistake," he said. "I don't think it's going to happen. I heard already we are interested in this player or the other player.

 

"I would like to say to all the clubs in the world don't be nervous, because we are not interested in any players or central defenders in Europe. We are going to survive with the players we have. Maybe in December we are going to start to think about it, maybe.

"But if we could not invest in this situation in the summer, we cannot do it in winter.

"That's why we are going to wait with the players we have, with the two central defenders, with Fernandinho, with Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis, even some players in different positions we can use there. We're going to move forward."


Fernandinho was always part of the season's plan to step in at centre-back when required, with Rodri brought in from Atletico Madrid to command the holding midfield role and Ilkay Gundogan also able to play there.

The Brazilian stepped in to partner Nicolas Otamendi at Brighton with John Stones still working his way back from injury but now he is fully fit the hope for Guardiola will be that his two natural central defenders can form the sort of partnership that laid the platform for the 2017/18 Premier League title win.

Stones has had two excellent spells in the City defence under Guardiola but has been unable to knit that into a full campaign and is yet to end any of his three years at the club as first-choice. However, City's coach has been one of his biggest defenders and believes he has what it takes to cover for Laporte.

 

"He's going to play incredible this period, while Laporte is not with us. He is going to play well," he said.

"I think the personality is always there. So there's a guy who in the first season made some mistakes and always try again and try again so I don't have doubts about his personality.

"The only problem when John Stones is sometimes I decide for Nico and sometimes for Vinnie. So that was the reason why and they know it. They have to compete with each other but the quality is there."