Pep Guardiola has suggested Borussia Dortmund sign some of the most talented youngsters in the game by making big payments to agents.
The Manchester City boss praised the quality of the Dortmund squad but made a pointed remark about the way the German club secure their signings.
Dortmund have landed many of Europe’s most sought-after prospects in recent times, including Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho, who came through City’s academy.
Speaking ahead of of the quarter-final first leg clash with Dortmund at the Etihad on Tuesday, Guardiola said: “If any one person in the city of Manchester knows Borussia Dortmund, it’s me.
“About the culture of that club, the way they play. I will not find one single player at Dortmund without quality. They spend a lot of money on young players, and pay a lot of money to the agents to bring these players there.”
Guardiola’s comments come amid fevered speculation over the future of Dortmund’s hottest prospect – Haaland.
The 20-year-old Norwegian striker’s agent, Mino Raiola, has been on a European tour in the past week.
He has been pictured in Spain with Haaland’s father, former City player Alf- Inge, having met Barcelona and Real Madrid officials for transfer talks and is expected in England for discussions with top Premier League clubs.
City have been heavily linked with a move for Haaland as they look to replace the outgoing Sergio Aguero.
But Guardiola has a strained relationship with Raiola and last week insisted the Premier League club could not afford to spend huge money to replace Aguero.
“I don’t know what is going to happen but at these prices we are not going to buy any striker,” he said.
“It’s impossible. We cannot afford it. All the clubs are struggling financially, us as well.
“Today there is more chance we will not buy a striker next season.”
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City, meanwhile, are strong favourites to win their Champions League quarter-final.
While City are running away with the Premier League title, opponents Dortmund are fifth in the Bundesliga, seven points adrift of the top four after a 2-1 home defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
But Guardiola has warned against underestimating the Germans.
He said: “Maybe they didn’t find the consistency in the Bundesliga but in one or two games they are able to do everything.
“I have incredible respect for what Borussia Dortmund have done. I was in Germany for three years and I know their quality.
“The quality is there, the players don’t know it because we haven’t spoken about Dortmund yet. We are going to prepare for the game like we prepared for Saturday, what they do, what are their strong points, weak points.”