Phil Foden is a “magician” and the natural heir to David Silva at Manchester City, says Pep Guardiola, with any suitors warned that €500 million (£450m/$550m) would not be enough to land the teenage midfielder.
The 19-year-old does not enjoy the most prominent of standings at the Etihad Stadium just yet.
He is a highly-regarded academy graduate tied to a long-term contract, but faces fierce competition for places at the Premier League champions from more experienced international stars.
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That has led to suggestions that Foden should be seeking a switch elsewhere, possibly on loan, with the youngster considered to need minutes in order to unlock his full potential.
Guardiola has, however, sought to make it clear that the England U21 playmaker is a key part of future plans for City, with there no amount of money that could alter that stance.
In the latest serialisation of a book called ‘Pep’s City: The Making of a Superteam’, The Sun reports Guardiola as saying: “We didn’t give Foden a new contract by accident.
“He is the only player that can’t be sold under any circumstances — the only one. Not even for 500m euros.
“Phil’s going nowhere — Phil is City. We won’t be signing anyone else for that position.
“When David Silva leaves, we know exactly who our new magician will be.”
City have seen players of promise slip their net in recent times, with the likes of Jadon Sancho and Brahim Diaz moving on.
Guardiola is convinced, though, that Stockport native Foden will remain loyal to his roots and display the patience required for him to become a star performer at one of the world’s biggest clubs.
The Catalan coach added: “He’s grown up with us. He’s one of us and he’s going to be brilliant — one of the Premier League’s best.
“One thing is clear, Foden has a place in City’s first team.
“I’d be interested to see if a different manager would have given him his chance to develop, or loaned him out.
“I don’t like leaving him out of certain games but must think of the whole squad. Phil understands that.”
Foden has aired his frustration at seeing just four outings and 10 minutes of Premier League football this season, but has offered no indication that he will be looking for a move in January or beyond.