Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak says some of their rivals are jealous of the club’s success.
City became the first English side to win a domestic treble when they beat Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup final, yet the achievement has been accompanied by criticism of the amount it has cost to put Pep Guardiola’s squad together.
However, in his annual assessment of the campaign on City’s internal media, Mubarak said he will not accept “being used as a diversionary tactic on poor investment decisions”.
Premier League champions City do not have a player in the top 10 most expensive signings. English rivals Manchester United have two – £89m Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku, bought for an initial £75m – and Liverpool one in £75m Virgil van Dijk.
City’s record signing is Riyad Mahrez, who they bought from Leicester for £60m in July 2018, while their other biggest transfers include Aymeric Laporte for £57m, Kevin de Bruyne for £55m and Benjamin Mendy for £52m.
“With success, there is a certain level of jealousy, envy, whatever you call it. That’s part of the game,” said Mubarak.
“It’s not easy for our competition, we know that. But the reality is, we didn’t buy the most expensive player in the Premier League [Pogba], we didn’t buy the most expensive goalkeeper [Kepa Arrizabalaga], we didn’t buy the most expensive midfielder, we didn’t buy the most expensive striker [Lukaku].
“People make decisions, they’ve got to live by them. This is a well-run club.”
Criticism of City has intensified since it was confirmed they had been referred to Uefa’s financial body amid allegations of financial fair play (FFP) rule breaches something the club strenuously denies.