Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

Stay or go? A crucial few weeks lie ahead for Manchester City winger Cole Palmer, weeks that could define how far his blossoming career will go.

The 21-year-old has certainly showcased his talents in City blue this season, scoring both of his side’s goals in their Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup games this month.

Both goals demonstrated his wide range of talents: at Wembley he curled a stunning effort past Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, while his header against Sevilla in midweek showed another side to his game.

Add in his role in helping England’s Under-21 side to a European Championship triumph earlier this summer and it’s clear Palmer has the winning touch about him.

Cole Palmer equalised for Man City in the second half of the UEFA Super Cup
Palmer heded home Man City’s opener in the UEFA Super Cup, having already scored in the Community Shield

But with both the player and manager Pep Guardiola casting doubts about the winger’s future, will that winning aura be with City, or another team?

Palmer: Best option is to stay, but will I play?

There is no doubt into the player’s mind about what the ideal option is this summer: to stay put and play.

“Obviously the best scenario is to stay at City and play,” Palmer said after Wednesday night’s Super Cup win. “But obviously you know what the competition is like, if they bring someone in…”

That is always the risk – what if City turn to the transfer market – either now or in January. If Palmer stays put, there’s every risk that his chance in the Premier League may not come.

Palmer only got 10 minutes off the bench in Man City's Premier League opener
Palmer only got 10 minutes off the bench in Man City’s Premier League opener

Palmer has scored two goals in two non-Premier League games for City since the start of the campaign but still only got 10 minutes off the bench in their top-flight opener against Burnley on Friday Night Football.

That was Palmer’s tale of the tape last season at the Etihad Stadium – the winger only featured 14 times in the league, but just two of those appearances were starts. And they only came after Guardiola’s side had won the title.

City let Riyad Mahrez leave the club in a £30m deal earlier this summer and the treble winners face a dilemma: do they dip back into the market or put their faith in their academy product?

The likes of Michael Olise – who is now staying at Crystal Palace – and Raphinha have been touted as potential incomings in the final weeks of the window, while Lucas Paqueta has experience of playing in Palmer’s wide role for the Brazil national team.

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And with Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish already there as competition, such a transfer would impact Palmer’s future, both long-term and short.

One factor which could help Palmer is the rise of Phil Foden, who stayed patient in Guardiola’s set-up and is now a key player for both club and country.

“I have no idea (what the future holds),” Palmer added after the Super Cup victory. “I just want to play football. So whatever the best decision is when we speak together, that is what I will do.”

Pep: Palmer future uncertain, but loan not an option

Manchester City's Cole Palmer celebrates with trophy after winning the UEFA Super Cup Final soccer match between Manchester City and Sevilla at Georgios Karaiskakis stadium in Piraeus port, near Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Palmer lifts the UEFA Super Cup trophy, having already won the treble last season

What Guardiola has hinted is Palmer will not get the best of both worlds – there is no loan option, he will either stay or be sold.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Guardiola. “I don’t think a loan is going to happen. He’s going to stay or we’re going to sell, but a loan is not going to happen.”

It was a similar message from the City boss last week, when Guardiola said there is a more influential spot for Palmer in his squad after Mahrez’s exit to Saudi Arabia.

“I understand he wants to be more active than the previous season,” said Guardiola before their Premier League opener with Burnley. “But Riyad has gone so we have one more place there.

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“I cannot say anything because, of course, all the decisions need to be made by the club. The club has to decide what the best is. All together, we will do it.”

The lack of loan option may be a blow to West Ham, who Sky Sports News revealed last week were exploring taking Palmer on for just the season.

Will a club like the Hammers invest in one of English football’s brightest attacking talents? Or will he remain with the champions?

Palmer grasping City opportunity

Sky Sports football journalist Joe Shread:

“Cole Palmer’s name has cropped up in recent weeks as a player that could be heading for the Etihad exit, but his start to the season will surely be shutting down that possibility.

“The England U21 international has long been tipped as one of the next big things to emerge from the City academy but has struggled to work his way past the stars in City’s attack, while injuries also have not helped.

“But circumstances now appear to be in Palmer’s favour, with the winger fit after a pre-season with the first team and clearly in form, as shown by his goal-scoring exploits in both finals City have played this month.

“Also benefiting Palmer are the gaps created by Riyad Mahrez’s move to Saudi Arabia and Kevin De Bruyne’s injury, which could see Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden required to spend more time in midfield.

“Pep Guardiola said before the game that Palmer has plenty of improvement still to make – but there is no better way to learn than by playing regularly under the manager that has brought so much success to the blue half of Manchester.”

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 14 and closes at 11pm on September 1 in England and midnight in Scotland?

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

By Sandra Winters

Writer | Author | Wordsmith Passionate about crafting stories that captivate and inspire. Published author of [Book Title]. Dedicated to exploring the depths of human emotions and experiences through the power of words. Join me on this literary journey as we delve into the realms of imagination and uncover the beauty of storytelling.