Rating the 10 players Man City let slip through the net as Palmer set for Chelsea return | Football | Sport

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Pep Guardiola will face the talent he let slip through his fingers when Cole Palmer returns to the Etihad today with Chelsea. Palmer famously scored a last-minute equaliser to deny City victory at Stamford Bridge and the attacker was been one of the few success stories at Chelsea this season.

But such is City’s embarrassment of talent, Guardiola could afford to let this home-grown talents leave in the summer because he wanted more first-team football. City have hardly struggled without him as they target another Treble and have generated a whopping £350million in player sales over the last four summers.

Some players have failed to sparkle at other clubs, while it has been the making of others. We assess 10 layers who have left the Etihad in recent years.

Cole Palmer – success

Sold for £42.5million last summer, the 21-year-old has shone at Chelsea. Given the space to develop, he has scored 12 goals and weighed in with nine assists. Gareth Southgate has promoted him to his senior England squad, handing him two caps, and the playmaker is expected to go to Euro 2024 in Germany this summer.

Brahim Diaz – success

The midfielder was scarcely used by Guardiola and he made just five appearances from the bench before he was sold to Real Madrid in 2019. They sent him out on loan to AC Milan, where he has developed, and this season he has scored eight goals for Real, including the winner in midweek against RB Leipzig in the Champions League.

Pedro Porro – success

The full-back came through the City Football Group system and the Blues picked him up from sister club Girona for £11million in 2019. He did not get much of a chance at City and was offloaded to Sporting Lisbon for just £7.2million in July 2022. He sparkled there, earning a £39.7million move to Tottenham last summer and he looks at home in the Premier League.

James Trafford – jury still out

Burnley paid what could be a club record when they paid £15million up front for the England Under-21 goalkeeper, rising to £19million. He impressed on loan at Bolton last season, setting a new Wanderers record for clean sheets, but has found life in the top flight with Burnley much more difficult. Vincent Kompany has tipped him to become an England No 1 and he has been one of their better performers.

Leroy Sane – success

Sane grew tired of life in Manchester and the German winger wanted to go home. City sold him to Bayern Munich for £44.7million in July 2020 and he has done well in the Bundesliga, winning successive titles in 2001, 2002 and 2003. However he is struggling this season, like Bayern, and City have scaled even greater heights without him.

Gabriel Jesus – success

City had big hopes for Jesus when they brought him in from his native Brazil in 2016, but he never established himself as their No 1 striker. Erling Haaland’s arrival signalled the end for him and he joined Arsenal for £45million in July 2022. He has impressed at Arsenal, becoming Mikel Arteta’s main striker and he has 19 goals for the Gunners as they have stepped up to challenge City.

Romeo Lavia – failure

The Belgium midfielder’s fees say he has been a huge success and after Southampton picked him up for £10.5million in July 2022, they sold him to Chelsea for a stunning £58million. Liverpool were keen, which pushed the price up, but he was relegated with Saints in his one full season. This campaign has also been one to forget and he has made just one appearance for Chelsea because of thigh and ankle problems.

Oleksandr Zinchenko – success

Zinchenko was only seen as a utility player during his time at City and he did a sterling job whenever Guardiola deployed him. The feeling was City did well getting £30million for him in July 2022, but he has been a key figure in Arsenal’s rise. The Gunners got him in his peak years and he has brought all his experience to the Gunners. It says it all about how important he is to them, that in two years he will almost match the number of Premier League starts he made for City in six seasons.

Raheem Sterling – failure

Sterling was another victim of Guardiola’s overhaul of City in the summer of 2022 and he let him join Chelsea for £47.5million. City had outgrown Sterling and Guardiola correctly reasoned they no longer needed him. Sterling struggled last season, as did Chelsea, but has improved this season, scoring seven goals and contributing four assists. But he is no longer an England regular in his peak years and his star has fallen.

Ferran Torres – jury still out

Torres was seen as the next big thing when City paid Valencia £20.8million to land him in 2000. But he was still young and did not sparkle before they sold him to Barcelona for £49.5million in January 2022. The striker has done better back in his homeland and has 12 goals this season for Barcelona and Spain.



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