Treble-winners Manchester City are starting to flex their considerable muscle in the transfer market and having just sanctioned a deal to recruit defender Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig, the Citizens are now aiming to bolster their options in midfield by signing Lucas Paqueta from West Ham.
The Hammers are extremely reluctant to do business having already lost Declan Rice to a Premier League rival in Arsenal earlier in the summer, though Brazilian international Paqueta is thought to be keen for the Irons to open negotiations with Pep Guardiola’s juggernaut.
West Ham have already rebuffed a tentative approach from City for Paqueta, however, the champions are expected to firm up their interest with a bumper £70m offer for the 25-year-old shortly.
City are already armed with a world-class array of midfield talent, so what would the acquisition of Lucas Paqueta add to a squad already full to bursting with serial winners?
What could Lucas Paqueta bring to Man City?
Lucas Paqueta became West Ham’s record signing when the swapped Lyon and Ligue 1 for London and the Premier League last summer in a deal worth around £51m, and after a somewhat sluggish start in England, the Brazilian blossomed into a lethal playmaker.
The talented technician had a skillset that seemed at odds with David Moyes’ tactical blueprint at West Ham initially, though he showcased his adaptability and began to excel in a role playing for a side that regularly played on the back foot.
At Manchester City, Paqueta would be performing in the division’s most-dominant and possession-hungry outfit, where his top tier quality on the ball would instantly be more evident.
Paqueta lodged four goals and three assists in 27 Premier League starts for West Ham last term, while his 1.9 shots per game average put him near the top of the list for that metric at the London Stadium.
The South American’s output of seven goal contributions in 2022/23 compares favourably to current City attacking midfielder Bernardo Silva’s tally of nine and Jack Grealish’s 12, especially when you consider that the latter pair had far more opportunities to excel in that department in a more menacing Cityzens team.
Paqueta’s ability to both manufacture and convert chances would make him a useful addition to a City midfield that has lost the threat of club icon Ilkay Gundogan this summer.
Pep Guardiola has already drafted in Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea in a bid to solidify his team’s centre, though the Croatian isn’t exactly renowned for his output in the final third and the 29-year-old registered just one goal and two assists in the Premier League last season,
In comparison, Gundogan notched eight times and claimed four assists in the league while also hitting both goals in City’s FA Cup Final triumph over rivals United in June.
Paqueta to push for West Ham exit?
Lucas Paqueta seemed content at West Ham at the beginning of the summer having just gotten his hands on some silverware, however, the landscape can shift quickly in football and the playmaker is believed to have been irked at the Hammers’ sluggishness in the transfer market.
West Ham’s agreed a deal to sell Declan Rice to Arsenal for over £100m in mid-June but have dragged their heels on replacing him since, and though the Londoners have been intensifying their recruitment drive this week – and their pursuit of James Ward-Prowse and Harry Maguire in particular – the already disgruntled Paqueta has now had his head turned by Manchester City’s interest.
The prospect of working under Pep Guardiola could be too enticing to turn down, so expect Paqueta to angle for a move away from West Ham just 12 months after joining them.