Manchester City are reportedly now in advanced talks to sign West Ham United playmaker Lucas Paqueta, who is keen on a move to the Etihad.

Manchester City placed a £70 million bid for Lucas Paqueta, which was rejected by the Hammers. But the operation is “likely” to result in the highly-rated Brazilian midfielder moving to the Etihad. That is according to French outlet Foot Mercato, who say the negotiations between two sides have since reached an advanced stage, and the deal is “likely to go to the end,” barring a late U-turn.

The Hammers paid a record fee to sign Paqueta for around £51 million from Ligue 1 outfit Lyon last summer. And after a slow start to his time under David Moyes at the London stadium, he grew into his role and enjoyed a brilliant debut season for the Premier League side.

The midfielder ended up grabbing five goals and seven assists in his 43 appearances across all competitions whilst leading the capital club to glory in the Europa Conference League. In fact, as per FBRef’s underlying stats, he was one of the Hammers’ best-performing players last season, making almost three tackles per 90 (99th percentile) and about six progressive passes (94th percentile).

So, it comes as little surprise that West Ham are reluctant to lose their Brazilian star and are likely to dig their heels in, especially having sold their captain to Arsenal earlier this summer. With Manuel Lanzini now at River Plate, Gianluca Scamacca having secured his escape route back to Serie A, and striker Michail Antonio pushing for a move away, the midfield department and attacking firepower are looking light.

That said, the move is viewed as a “good opportunity” for the Brazilian international, who wants to fight for titles, and he has already given his seal of approval to the move should it go through, so the Irons’ hands could be tied if the player really pushes for a move away.

Manchester City’s interest in Paqueta arises following the departure of Riyad Mahrez to Saudi Pro League side Al-Ahli, leaving Pep Guardiola’s side without a recognised right-winger ahead of the new Premier League campaign. Michael Olise and Jeremy Doku are two wingers who have been linked with a move to the Etihad. But Paqueta is more versatile and appears to be at the top of the Cityzens’ shortlist.

Still, a gigantic fee will be needed to get this deal done, with Football Insider suggesting the Hammers will demand an upfront fee of at least £80 million from City for Paqueta’s services after a £70 million opening bid has already been rejected.

The Brazil international penned a five-year deal at the London Stadium upon his arrival, with his current terms running until June 2027, including the option of a further year. Having already recouped over £130 million from player sales this summer, the Hammers are also under little economic pressure.

West Ham themselves have had a slow window. Edson Alvarez is soon expected to be announced as their first summer signing, with James Ward-Prowse set to follow from Southampton.

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