City are prepared to pay about £70 million all told for De Jong but face serious competition from front-runners Barcelona and Paris St-Germain for the 21-year-old Netherlands midfielder.
"If you are the only one who want players it's easy".
Pep Guardiola conceded Manchester City face a hard task beating Barcelona and Real Madrid when it comes to transfers.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss added: "Specifically with Fernandinho's role, it's so hard to find".
Guardiola says last season's Carabao Cup game between the two sides offered all the evidence he needed to know how strong they are.
Pep Guardiola has confirmed they are making good progress and could be in contention for a place in the side in Monday's crucial Premier League encounter. But, of course, for the next season it's an important target to find.More news: Emery: Champions League qualification more hard for Arsenal
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"There are many holding midfielders in the world". He has incredible relationship with the Brazilian guys, like Danilo, Fernandinho, Bernardo, many, many players here.
When put to him that Neves might be the type required Guardiola said: "He's an excellent player but there are many clubs in the world, many holding midfielders in the world, and majority can play here". A lot of them are under contracts.
"If you have no injuries and you are satisfied with the players as in our case, we decide we are going with the players we have had since the start of the season". That is not going to happen.
Despite the likelihood of losing out on De Jong, Guardiola has no qualms over the work being done by City director of football Txiki Begiristain and his team to bring in top-class players. But we can not do it every season. That is not going to happen, we are not going to pay £100 million for a holding midfielder.
"I am in touch quite often with Txiki, especially, because he is close to my door, and I know exactly what they do, in the academy, in the first team and they are doing it really well. I know the players' quality from the past three seasons; I know what they can give us until the end of the season".
"The big clubs don't buy big players for just six months, and it important players are not sold in this period".