Manchester City could see their pursuit of West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta fall through after the player was reportedly caught up in a betting investigation. But the Citizens may not need the Brazil international after all after four stars shone during their 1-0 Premier League victory over Newcastle on Saturday night.
Paqueta has impressed in the Premier League since moving to West Ham last summer and appeared to be on the verge of securing an £80million move to the Etihad Stadium. But, according to Sky Sports, the FA and FIFA have opened an investigation after bets in Brazil were placed on the 25-year-old getting booked in matches.
The transfer could still happen if the issue is cleared up quickly. But City manager Pep Guardiola may have to instead turn to the players he already has at his disposal this season.
City have lost a whole host of players this summer and look to have been weakened in certain areas of the pitch. They have also been hit with the news that influential midfielder Kevin de Bruyne could miss the next four months after injuring his hamstring. But Guardiola will be pleased with what he saw from Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez against Newcastle, while Rodri and Kyle Walker also shone.
Foden ran the show at times against the Magpies as he looked to receive the ball in space, open his body up and get his side moving in the right direction. He was a class above his Newcastle counterparts and took the opportunity to dictate play every time he could. The England star teed-up Alvarez for the only goal of the night and combined well with Erling Haaland time and time again.
Foden has shown he can play in a deeper central midfield role as well as on the wing and will prove to be a key player in the coming months. This could finally be the 23-year-old’s season to star for the Citizens week in week out.
Alvarez, meanwhile, took his opportunity well in the first half and was a livewire throughout the contest. The forward may well be behind Haaland in the City pecking order – but he has illustrated that he can play alongside the Norwegian and can deliver when called upon.
Rodri’s impact on the Citizens team is never in doubt. The Spain international popped up with a goal and an assist on the opening night of the season as City defeated Burnley last Friday. And the midfielder was in fine form once again against Newcastle as he refused to give the visitors a sniff. Rodri helped City limit Eddie Howe’s team in front of goal and kept the ball well in possession.
Elsewhere, Walker impressed on the right side of defence and was also given the license to drift inside to support the City midfield. With players like Walker and left-back Manuel Akanji able to roam into the centre of the pitch, there isn’t much danger of the City midfield getting overrun this season.
City’s win didn’t come easy against a tenacious Newcastle side. But Guardiola could well feel he has enough quality in his squad without dipping into the transfer market to win plenty of silverware once again this season. Foden can be the like-for-like De Bruyne replacement he needs.