West Ham United have already made one big sale this summer to a top Premier League side — and before this transfer window slams shut, the London club could lose another key player, perhaps finding it even tougher to replace this one.
Less than a month after finalizing the club-record $127 million sale of Declan Rice to Arsenal, West Ham are reportedly in negotiations with Manchester City for Lucas Paqueta, a player for whom the Premier League champions have already made one verbal bid.
Why City want Paqueta
Pep Guardiola‘s Manchester City side in June became the first English team since 1999 to win the treble of league, domestic cup, and European Cup. But Guardiola is well aware keeping up that exceedingly-high standard will take some inspiration — and more spending in the transfer market.
To that end, City have completed a $131 million double swoop for defender Josko Gvardiol and midfielder Mateo Kovacic, with summer spending certain to exceed $200 million if the reigning champions can complete a deal for Paqueta.
Guardiola wants the 25-year-old to help offset the losses of Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez, who earlier this summer joined FC Barcelona and Al-Ahli respectively. Paqueta’s signing would also allow Bernardo Silva, one of City’s key players, to continue playing on the right wing, where he performed so well in the latter stages of the 2022/23 season.
A hammer blow to West Ham?
West Ham reportedly want $115 million from Man City in order to sell Paqueta, who himself only arrived in the Premier League last summer in a $46 million transfer from Lyon.
Paqueta impressed in his first season in England, scoring four goals and recording three assists in 28 games and playing a pivotal role in West Ham‘s UEFA Europa Conference League victory, registering a goal and two assists in 11 games in the competition.
Paqueta would join former club captain Rice in leaving West Ham this summer. The club is set to move for Manchester United‘s Scott McTominay and Southampton‘s James Ward-Prowse with a portion of the cash it has received, in addition to Ajax and Mexico pivot Edson Alvarez. But whether those players can have the same impact as Paqueta and Rice is very much an open question.