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Josh Barker: Manchester City cannot afford to repeat Cole Palmer mistake with latest rising star


Chelsea signed Cole Palmer from Manchester City for an initial £40m over the summer, with Palmer penning a seven-year contract with the option of a further year at Stamford Bridge.

Palmer had showcased patches of quality during his time in Manchester but struggled for any sort of regular football at the Etihad.

For Chelsea, however, Palmer has quickly cemented himself as the MVP on Mauricio Pochettino’s squad.

Palmer put in another impressive performance for the Blues in their 1-0 win over Fulham on Saturday, scoring the penalty he helped create to secure the three points for his new side.

The 21-year-old, whose staggering displays earned him his first two senior England caps in November, now has nine goals and four assists in the Premier League this term - more than any other Chelsea player and more than any other Manchester City star barring Erling Haaland.

The decision to sell Palmer to Chelsea did not seem to cause too much of a stir amongst the City fanbase at the time but it could come back to bite them in the near future.

It may also serve as a warning to the Manchester City higher-ups when dealing with their next breakout prospect.

With Palmer gone, Manchester City have opted to hand his spot to 20-year-old Oscar Bobb.

The Norwegian scored his first Champions League goal vs Red Star earlier this term and bagged his first Premier League goal on Saturday to secure a 3-2 win for Manchester City vs Newcastle.

Bobb came onto Pep Guardiola’s radar at the end of last season when he was pointed out as a talent by sporting director Txiki Begiristain.

“At the end of the season, Txiki said to me that Oscar Bobb was the best player by far. I said ok, go to Japan and start to train with us,” said Guardiola. “Immediately, Oscar got something that is the most important thing: the reliance of his teammates. That’s more important than the manager. When the teammates can say that a player can play with us that is the best success - and it was immediate.

“He can play in five positions - striker, right wing, left, in the pockets - he is so dynamic, his work ethic is unbelievable. How he played in the Carabao Cup here was outstanding. He doesn’t feel the pressure much.”

Guardiola has thrown Bobb in at the deep end on a number of occasions when the game was in the balance at Wolves, Aston Villa and then Newcastle in the Premier League, but the gamble looks to be paying off.

However, speaking post-Newcastle, the Spaniard suggested he would, like Palmer, allow Bobb to leave if he feels he is not getting enough minutes with Man City.

“We have a player for many years for us - if he decides to stay. Now he’s happy with his minutes like Cole Palmer was happy with his minutes. But after two or three years, they want more and it’s natural, it’s completely understandable. Maybe I don’t give them the minutes and they decide to go. If he decides to stay, we have a player for many years.”

But with a number of Manchester City’s midfielders and wide players already in or nearing their 30s, perhaps Guardiola should be a bit more cautious with how he handles Bobb’s future.

City are never short of transfer funds but it would still be a lot easier to replace someone like Bernardo Silva or Kevin De Bruyne with young talent already at the club, instead of having to sign a player for big money and spending a season or so getting them to play your way.

Josh Barker

Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.