Pep Guardiola begged Chelsea star Cole Palmer to stay at Man City | Football

Cole Palmer has been Chelsea’s standout player this season (Picture: Getty)

Pep Guardiola has revealed that he begged Cole Palmer to stay at Manchester City this summer before he moved to Chelsea in a £42.5m deal.

Eyebrows were raised when the Blues slashed out such a high fee to sign a player who was largely unproven but Palmer has massively impressed for Chelsea.

The 21-year-old Englishman has been Chelsea’s standout player this season in an otherwise dissapointing campaign for the club under Mauricio Pochettino.

Palmer has conjured up 23 goals and 13 assists across 38 games for Chelsea to date and Guardiola has been accused of being left with ‘egg on his face’.

The City boss, speaking ahead of his side’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea on Saturday, has now said that he was desperate for Palmer to remain at the club.

‘He was asking for two seasons to leave and I said, ‘No! Stay! Stay!’ – but he said, ‘No – I want to leave’ – what could we do?’ Guardiola said on Friday.

‘I said in pre-season, 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.

Pep Guardiola pictured watching Man City in action against Newcastle in the FA Cup

Pep Guardiola tried to convince Cole Palmer to stay at Man City (Picture: Getty)

‘Playing that level [he is now] is exceptional. He’s an exceptional player. 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.’

Meanwhile, Guardiola has passionately defended his City players after they crashed out of the Champions League to Real Madrid.

‘You want to play 120 minutes how we played the last 80?’ he added. ‘Do you know which team we were facing?

‘Did you expect they wouldn’t have the ball or the opportunities to create that? And think we were going to win another Treble?

‘And next season another Treble? And win the Premier League by 20 points? It’s not true. The most unbelievable thing is that we competed as a team until the end.’

MORE : Erling Haaland injury: Pep Guardiola issues update ahead of Man City vs Chelsea

MORE : Mauricio Pochettino reveals the one positive he took away from Chelsea’s penalty row against Everton

MORE : Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino reveals the truth behind his lemon obsession

General Sport