Pep Guardiola responds to Lucas Paqueta, Cole Palmer, Kyle Walker speculation

Pep Guardiola refuses to comment on speculation linking Manchester City with West Ham United’s Lucas Paqueta, but has offered an update on the futures of Cole Palmer and Kyle Walker.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has refused to comment on speculation linking the Citizens with West Ham United midfielder Lucas Paqueta.

Recent reports have claimed that the treble winners have stepped up their interest in the 25-year-old and have seen a verbal offer between £60m and £70m turned down by the Hammers.

Paqueta joined West Ham from Lyon for a club-record £51m last summer and David Moyes‘s side have no intention of selling the Brazil international, who still has four years remaining on his contract.

However, Paqueta, who has been handed the No.10 shirt by West Ham ahead of the new season, is understood to have had his head turned after learning of interest from Man City and he would be open to leaving the London Stadium if they table a formal offer.

Paqueta, who chipped in with five goals and seven assists in 41 matches in the 2022-23 campaign, is said to have a £85m release clause in his contract, but it cannot be activated until next summer.

West Ham United's Lucas Paqueta celebrates scoring against Liverpool on April 26, 2023© Reuters

Man City are believed to be exploring the market for a new midfielder following the departure of Ilkay Gundogan to Barcelona on a free transfer.

Mateo Kovacic has moved to the Etihad Stadium from Chelsea this summer, but the Croatian is not considered a like-for-like replacement for Gundogan, so another midfielder could be brought in before the transfer window closes on September 1.

Guardiola has spoken to the media ahead of Man City’s opening Premier League fixture of the new season against Burnley on Friday, and was asked about the club’s alleged interest in Paqueta.

However, the Catalan boss has decided to remain coy on the rumours, stating at a press conference on Thursday: “I will not answer on Paqueta. He is a West Ham player.”

Guardiola has also commented on the future of academy graduate Cole Palmer, who is reportedly wanted by West Ham in part-exchange for Paqueta.

“Today he is with us. What is going to happen I don’t know. I understand he wants to be more active than the previous season, I understand that,” said Guardiola.

Brentford's Frank Onyeka in action with Manchester City's Cole Palmer on May 28, 2023© Reuters

“But Riyad [Mahrez] is gone so there is one extra space. I cannot say anything because all the players who know me as a manager have a lot of desires.

“But the last decision belongs to the club. If you want to leave from here, it’s ok. But you have to decide with the club.”

Palmer, who scored in the Community Shied defeat to Arsenal last weekend, is rated highly by Man City and has made 39 senior appearances in all tournaments since his debut in 2020.

The 21-year-old has also attracted interest from Brighton & Hove Albion, who are believed to be keen to recruit the versatile attacker either on loan or on a permanent basis.

Meanwhile, Guardiola has stated that there is no update on the future of defender Kyle Walker, who has been heavily linked with a summer move to Bayern Munich.

“We are wishing that he stays, since a long time we have made him feel that. But no news,” said the Citizens boss.

The 33-year-old is understood to have been offered a 12-month contract extension by Man City and he is leaning towards committing his future to the Citizens where he has spent the last six seasons.

ID:520832:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect6365: