Manchester City

Man City star snubbed for Premier League medal may never play for club again

This summer, Manchester City plans to let go of a few players.

Man City star snubbed for Premier League medal may never play for club again

Man City celebrate their title win (Image: Getty)

Before Manchester City’s September match against West Ham kicked off, Lucas Paqueta, the midfield player for West Ham, was observed shaking hands with Pep Guardiola and his assistant Juanma Lillo in an odd incident. This occurred at City’s bench rather than his own. The Blues bench greeted him with warmth.

Paqueta was a target for City to sign during the summer transfer window. But the proceedings were stopped by an ongoing FA investigation into possible betting violations involving the player, according to the Manchester Evening News.

The possibility of a ban was judged to be excessive, as evidenced by Sandro Tonali’s ten-month suspension. City chose to go with Matheus Nunes instead.

Mateo Kovacic took some time to settle into the team, and Nunes hasn’t had much of an impact yet. Given that Kevin De Bruyne missed half of the season due to injury and that there have been constant rumors regarding his future and Bernardo Silva’s transfer status, it is possible that City will look again this season for an attacking midfielder.

Because of Paqueta’s West Ham contract, Guardiola declined to comment at the beginning of the season and has never formally acknowledged City’s interest in the player. Nonetheless, he singled out the Brazilian as a potential threat and praised his abilities prior to Sunday’s matchup with the Hammers.

Before anyone takes that too literally, though, Guardiola also highlighted a few of his teammates to highlight the difficulty City faces.

With 42 appearances, Paqueta has eight goals and seven assists, including four goals in nine Europa League games. His versatility between left wing and attacking midfield won’t have put City off.

With the exception of Mohammed Kudus’ outstanding effort, West Ham’s players didn’t stand out on Sunday despite a quiet performance.

The Brazilian stayed away from the City bench this time, but his case is still open and he hasn’t done anything to deter the Blues from showing more interest in him should they decide to this season. He has a mysterious £85 million release clause, which further complicates his situation.

Kalvin Phillips is one player who is almost a lock to leave West Ham or City for the upcoming campaign. When the midfielder went on loan to the London Stadium in January, he was hoping to move on from a trying 18 months at City, but things didn’t go as planned.

His season was prematurely ended by injury, and there is virtually no chance that he will be included in England’s Euro 2024 squad unless Gareth Southgate decides to evaluate his form prior to 2022 rather than after. Phillips may find himself in the awkward situation of traveling with the West Ham team and then possibly joining City in celebrating their league victory (despite the fact that he has only made four appearances in the Premier League for City this season, he isn’t even guaranteed a medal).

Sunday might be the last time we see Phillips at the Etihad, but he was seated in a box above the pitch with his family, none of whom were wearing the blue or claret uniforms. He did not receive a medal on the field with his City teammates and was noticeably missing from the post-match festivities.

Not that, having only played four times, he was a lock for a medal. However, Kyle Walker encouraged the three academy players who had been left out as substitutes to join the group hoisting the trophy, and Scott Carson was given a standing ovation when he received one.

City would consider it a success if they could recover even half of the £42 million they paid Leeds for Phillips this summer. That would somewhat mitigate the effects of one of the worst signings in recent memory if it went toward any possible deal for Paqueta.

It will be interesting to watch Paqueta to see if there are any clues as to the beginning of another Blues career, as Sunday emphasizes the likely end of Phillips’ City career.


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