Manchester City targeted Lucas Paqueta in the summer transfer window before cooling their interest.
As far as come-and-get-me pleas go, they don’t get much more blatant then giving the manager you want to play for a big old hug before playing against his team.
Lucas Paqueta made his desires pretty clear by doing exactly that on Saturday. Ahead of Manchester City’s 3-1 win over West Ham United, the Brazilian made his way over to the dug-out to embrace Pep Guardiola and meet the rest of his coaching staff.
If the wind blew a different way, Paqueta may well have been lining up for the champions at his old stomping ground.
City, who left some major business until the final week of the window as they considered how to replace Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez.
Josko Gvardiol was the top target and once he was signed attention returned to bolstering the forward options.
A right winger appeared the obvious necessity, given the missing goals with Mahrez’ departure and Phil Foden’s apparent destiny to finally play a central role.
So when it transpired City were instead targeting another attacking midfielder in Paqueta, eyebrows were raised. Not only would his signing suggest Foden would be back on the flanks, but the Irons playmaker was hardly a name that screamed City calibre.
Why choose Paqueta
Paqueta had enjoyed a very good debut season at West Ham,
Playing a crucial role in the Europa Conference League win, but he didn’t exactly set the world alight.
A creative spark in a mid-table side but nothing suggested he was better than what City already had,
He could make the significant jump.
When you consider West Ham wanted a significant profit on the club-record fee of £55m they spent a year ago, the deal didn’t make much sense. As it transpired, it didn’t come to pass.
City’s interest on Paqueta cooled when the FA opened an investigation against him over potential betting rules breaches. With the lengthy ban any breach could bring, City moved elsewhere and eventually signed Jeremy Doku and Matheus Nunes.
Paqueta’s approach to Guardiola suggests he’s still very keen on the move, and who wouldn’t want to play on the best team in the world? But his chance may have gone.
There’s no saying when the investigation will be completed.
If it remains without a conclusion when next summer rolls around,
It’s hard to see City taking the risk on signing a player who could potentially be banned at any moment. But it’s not the only reason.
There simply might not be a place for him in a year’s time.
City are having to cope without the injured Kevin De Bruyne and doing so remarkably well have won all matches
Julian Alvarez is taking the opportunity with both hands.
The Argentine was excellent in London and set up two of City’s goals from an attacking midfield position. Guardiola was so enthused that he said Alvarez was becoming undroppable.
“We had doubts because he came from Bolivia with the jet lag,
He was tired the day before yesterday,” said Guardiola. “He felt better and we spoke with him last night and he said he felt good.