Manchester City are targeting a surprise move for West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta, as Pep Guardiola seeks to strengthen his squad ahead of the upcoming campaign.
The West Ham United midfielder moved to the London Stadium for a club-record £51 million fee from Lyon only last summer, but is now linked with a sensational exit from the Hammers amid interest from Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola recently lost former club captain Ilkay Gundogan as well as Riyad Mahrez, and as a result, is now looking to add to his City squad during the remaining weeks of the transfer window, with the Sky Blues competing to win six trophies during the new campaign.
Lucas Paqueta was directly involved in five goals during West Ham’s famous UEFA Europa Conference League winning campaign last season, complimented by a further four Premier League goals.
West Ham boss David Moyes lost key man Declan Rice to Arsenal in a £105 million deal, and the Hammers are still to officially complete a first-team signing this summer, despite the Premier League campaign starting this weekend.
Reports of Manchester City’s interest in Lucas Paqueta first surfaced on Monday night from Brazil, with an influx of further information regarding the 25-year-old emerging in the early hours of Tuesday.
Following a flurry of fresh developments, here is everything we now know so far!
The Athletic’s David Ornstein reports that the reigning Premier League champions are ‘exploring a deal’ to sign Lucas Paqueta from West Ham, however a formal bid for the midfielder is yet to be submitted.
The Daily Mail’s Sami Mokbel writes that West Ham are ‘determined’ to keep the Brazilian international beyond the ongoing summer transfer window, but that a £70 million offer has been launched by Manchester City, who are ‘actively trying’ to sign the 25-year-old.
Manager Pep Guardiola is a ‘fan’ of Paqueta, according to Fabrizio Romano, who further reports that Manchester City’s verbal approach of a £70 million package is not deemed as enough by the Hammers to sanction a sale.
Sky Sports claim that the player’s ‘head has been turned’ by Manchester City’s interest, and it comes amid a report from The Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg, who states that Lucas Paqueta has since become ‘unsettled’ and is now ‘considering his future’ in West London.
Additional information provided by The Guardian also states that Lucas Paquetá will ‘push’ for West Ham to let him join Manchester City, who are currently preparing a bid to sign the Brazil midfielder.
Furthermore, Rob Dawson at ESPN reports that Manchester City’s pursuit of the 25-year-old is viewed as separate to anything regarding the future of Bernardo Silva, who is increasingly likely to stay at the Etihad Stadium despite interest from PSG and Barcelona.
Perhaps a further key development concerning the future of Paqueta, and a piece of information that may explain why Manchester City’s interest has surfaced, is related to the emergence of a release clause in the player’s contract.
As first report by Kieran Gill of The Daily Mail, Paqueta’s contract contains an £85 million buy-out clause, however that does not become active until the summer of 2024. As such, it is stated that West Ham do not want to sell this summer, and that a £70 million fee is nowhere near their valuation.
Manchester City get their 2023/24 Premier League campaign underway on Friday night, as they travel to Turf Moor to take on Vincent Kompany’s newly-promoted Burnley side for the first three points up for grabs in the division.
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