Pep: Palmer asked to leave City for two years
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Cole Palmer tried to leave Manchester City “for two seasons” before joining Chelsea, manager Pep Guardiola said Friday.

Palmer moved to Stamford Bridge in a £42.5 million ($53m) deal in the summer and has become one of the signings of the season after scoring 23 goals in all competitions, including 20 in the Premier League.

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Guardiola shrugged when asked whether it was a mistake to let Palmer move but said the 21-year-old wanted to leave the Etihad Stadium long before he joined Chelsea.

“He’s an exceptional player,” Guardiola told a news conference.

“I said many times, I didn’t give the minutes that maybe he deserved and now he has at Chelsea. I understand completely.

“He’s a shy guy with a lot of potential. It is what it is. He’s playing fantastic so what can I say? The decision has been made for many reasons.

“He was asking for two seasons to leave and I said stay. He said he wanted to leave. What could we do? I said stay because Riyad [Mahrez] is gone, but for two seasons he wanted to leave.”

City face Palmer’s Chelsea in the FA Cup semifinals at Wembley on Saturday as they look to bounce back from their Champions League exit to Real Madrid. Guardiola expects Kevin De Bruyne to be available despite coming off against the Spanish giants, but Erling Haaland will be monitored ahead of the game after he was also substituted against Real Madrid.

“Kevin feels well,” Guardiola said. “With Erling, we will see. It was a tough game, 120 minutes. A lot of action, high intensity from both sides.

“Erling felt something, a muscular issue, and that’s why he said he could not continue. Kevin felt exhausted and after what happened with an injury for five months, that is normal.”

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