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Manchester City abandon pursuit of key Pep Guardiola target despite £85M agreement with Premier League club



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Manchester City have ended their pursuit of West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta as the midfielder faces an FA probe into alleged betting breaches, as per various reports.

Paqueta was identified as an ideal replacement for Ilkay Gundogan and City held negotiations with West Ham over the 25-year-old Brazilian, who was highly attracted by the move.

City saw an initial verbal approach totalling £70 million rebuffed by the Hammers, who valued Paqueta in excess of £80 million in light of the £85 million release clause in the midfielder’s contract coming into play next summer.

The Champions League winners saw Kevin De Bruyne pull out of their Premier League opener against Burnley a few weeks ago and last week, Guardiola confirmed that the 2023 UEFA Player of the Year award nominee is set to recover from surgery for ‘four to five months’.

Though Bernardo Silva is believed to have signed a fresh one-year extension ahead of an impending announcement, City need reinforcement in midfield and were highly keen to secure the arrival of Paqueta.

However, it emerged that the Brazil international was being investigated by the FA for alleged betting breaches, which has put a potential switch to the north-west in major doubt.

Whilst it was believed over the weekend that City could still go back in for Paqueta if the allegations are resolved swiftly, Sky Sports News reported on Tuesday that the Premier League champions have moved on from their pursuit of the West Ham star.

However, the Mail have reported that Manchester City have reached an agreement worth £85 million with West Ham for Paqueta before news emerged on the betting probe.

City have ten days before the transfer window shuts on September 1 and are expected to announce the signing of Rennes forward Jeremy Doku in time for their upcoming league trip to Sheffield United.