• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Guardiola defends decision to sell Cole Palmer to Chelsea

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has defended his decision to sell Cole Palmer to Chelsea, noting that the academy player had expressed his desire to leave the club for two years before eventually joining the Blues.

Man City sold Palmer to Chelsea for £42.5m on deadline day in September.

“In pre-season, I told him to stay because Riyad [Mahrez] had left, but he said, ‘No, I want to leave,'” said Guardiola.

“After two seasons, what could I say?”

The 21-year-old has since scored 20 top-flight goals, putting him level with City’s Erling Haaland at the top of the Premier League Golden Boot standings.

Guardiola acknowledges Palmer’s success but emphasises the circumstances surrounding his departure from the Etihad Stadium.

“He was asking to leave for two seasons,” Guardiola said. “I told him to stay, but he wanted to leave. What else could we do?”

Palmer’s recent performance, including scoring four goals against Everton on April 15, has raised questions about Guardiola’s decision to let him go.

However, Guardiola maintains that given Palmer’s desire to leave and limited playing time at City, it was best for him to move on.

“I didn’t give him the minutes he deserved and wanted, the minutes he now has at Chelsea,” Guardiola admitted.

“I understand that completely. I’m happy for him because he’s a lovely guy, playing well, and is an incredible threat.”

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino expressed gratitude to City for allowing Palmer to move to another club, acknowledging the forward’s desire to prove himself elsewhere.

“He always speaks highly of them and Pep,” said Pochettino. “He understood that for different reasons, he wanted to prove himself in another club.”

However, Pochettino also emphasized the need to be cautious with Palmer’s newfound success, considering the impact on his lifestyle and workload.

“We need to be careful,” Pochettino advised. “His life changed, and he needs to learn from the experience.”