‘I tried to convince Palmer to stay’ - Pep Guardiola reveals chat that led to Chelsea transfer

The winger joined Chelsea from Manchester City last summer in a £43m deal.
Pep Guardiola has spoken about Cole Palmer's summer transfer to ChelseaPep Guardiola has spoken about Cole Palmer's summer transfer to Chelsea
Pep Guardiola has spoken about Cole Palmer's summer transfer to Chelsea

Pep Guardiola has revealed he tried to convince Cole Palmer to remain at Manchester City last summer prior to his £43m transfer to Chelsea.

The 21-year-old made the switch to Stamford Bridge in the final days of the window, due to a lack of play time in the previous season. Palmer didn’t start a single league game before City were crowned champions in May, and despite an encouraging start to the 2023/24 campaign, he felt a move to Chelsea would result in more on-field minutes.

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It’s a decision Palmer has more than justified, with the Wythenshawe native currently joint top scorer in the league alongside Erling Haaland. The 20-goal haul has seen Palmer talked about among the leading contenders for the Player of the Season awards, while he has also forced his way into Gareth Southgate’s England reckoning ahead of Euro 2024.

Guardiola and Palmer have both spoken about last summer’s transfer on numerous occasions, but ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final between City and Chelsea, the Catalan revealed a fresh update on the player’s final weeks at City. Guardiola told reporters in Friday’s press conference that he unsuccessfully tried to convince Palmer to stay at the club.

“He's an exceptional player who was here,” said the former Barcelona manager. “I said many times, I didn't give the minutes that maybe he deserved and he wanted the minutes that now he has at Chelsea. I understand completely.

“I am happy for him because he’s a lovely guy. He's a shy guy with a lot of potential, otherwise could not be here. It is what it is. He's playing good and has an incredible threat. What can I say? The decision has been made for many reasons. 

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“He was asking for two seasons to leave and I said ‘no, stay’. In the end he said he wanted to leave. What could we do? I said in pre-season to stay because Riyad is gone and he said ‘no, I want to leave’. But after two seasons what could I say? But playing that level is exceptional, everyone knows it.”

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