Pep Guardiola wants to sign 21-years-old ‘Talented Chelsea star’ in return of Cole Palmer

Pep Guardiola says Cole Palmer spurned his offer of more playing time at Manchester City to sign for Chelsea last summer.

Whatever the nuances, there will be motivation on both sides at Sunday’s Stamford Bridge reunion between the world’s greatest manager and the 21-year-old talent who defied him.

Palmer had started only three Premier League games when he left the club he joined aged six. In contrast, he has begun the last five for Mauricio Pochettino — scoring three goals — and is a decent outside bet to make England’s squad for the Euros.

I’m not surprised he’s done well quickly at Chelsea,’ says former City academy director Jason Wilcox, now director of football at Southampton.

‘He’s a quiet, languid guy and people can misinterpret that. With a footballing eye, you could always see elite vision, technical ability and winning mentality.

He had to overcome challenges at City. There was a point his team-mates were growing quicker than him and he found it difficult physically.

We kept him with the Under-18s when his peers went up to the U21s. That wasn’t easy for Cole but he took it in his stride and adapted.

‘On the pitch, he has tremendous courage. He takes the ball and tries things. He responds well to pressure and doesn’t get affected by the crowd.

‘It’ll be fascinating to see him face City. All top players want to prove something, both to themselves — and previous clubs.’

Palmer, who joined Chelsea in a £42.5million deal, is a versatile forward suited to the modern game, able to fit in anywhere along the front line or drop as a No10. Guardiola saw him as most useful on the right of a front three.

The City manager’s version of their break-up is typically forthright. ‘I said to him “Riyad Mahrez is leaving, you are going to get a chance here”. ‘He said “No, I’m not going to play here, I want to leave” so I said “OK, leave!”

Some clubs would not want to see an asset join a potential rival. City are not like that and were happy to collect a big fee from Chelsea.

‘We’d never stop a deal because of that. Why, if the transfer suits both clubs and the player? That means you are a small club.

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