Ladyman: Pep Guardiola is naive to sell players to his rivals

Pep Guardiola is ‘naive’ in saying he has no problem in selling players to his rivals after Cole Palmer left Man City to join Chelsea for £42.5m, says Ian Ladyman on It’s All Kicking Off

  • Cole Palmer left boyhood club Manchester City to join Chelsea last summer
  • Pep Guardiola claimed only small clubs feared selling players to their rivals
  • It’s baffling why Guardiola sold Palmer to a rival club – It’s All Kicking Off 

Ian Ladyman believes Pep Guardiola is naive for suggesting he has no problem in selling Manchester City players to rival clubs.

Guardiola had made the claim ahead of Man City’s match against Chelsea on Sunday, when Cole Palmer faced his former club for the first time following his £42.5million move to Stamford Bridge.

Palmer scored a stoppage time penalty to earn Chelsea a 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge, which prevented Man City from going three points clear at the top of the table.

The Man City boss had justified Palmer’s sale pre-match, insisting the club have no problem letting unhappy players move on.

‘I said to him [Palmer] “Riyad Mahrez is leaving, you are going to get a chance here”. ‘He said “No, I’m not going to play here, I want to leave” so I said ‘OK, leave!’, Guardiola said.

Ian Ladyman believes Pep Guardiola is naive for being open to selling players to rivals

The Manchester City boss claimed only small clubs refuse to sell players to potential rivals

Guardiola had insisted he had no problem allowing Cole Palmer to join Chelsea in the summer

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‘Some clubs would not want to see an asset join a potential rival. City are not like that and were happy to collect a big fee from Chelsea.

‘We’d never stop a deal because of that. Why, if the transfer suits both clubs and the player? That means you are a small club.

‘Big clubs make decisions for the benefit of all three parties. If a player wants to go to Chelsea or [Manchester] United or Liverpool, what is the problem if they are happy to be there and we are happy with the transfer? Another player comes here and we keep going with a good spirit.’ 

Ladyman, Mail Sport’s Football Editor, told the It’s All Kicking Off podcast that Guardiola was ‘naive’ for for allowing the switch despite receiving a good fee for 21-year-old Palmer.

‘Pep said on Friday, only small clubs, that’s his quote, only small clubs refuse to sell to rivals,’ Ladyman told Chris Sutton.

‘Really? I think it’s slightly naive to sell to a rival which is something that you rarely say about Manchester City.

‘Only small clubs refused to sell to rivals, what does that mean?’

Sutton suggested the Guardiola was entitled to make the comment given Manchester City’s success under the Spaniard.

Palmer scored from the penalty spot to earn Chelsea a 4-4 draw against Man City on Sunday

The 21-year-old has been rewarded for his impressive form with a call-up to the England squad

‘Well, I mean he’s entitled to sort of say what he wants is, you know, especially when they’re mopping up and over the years they’ve spent a fortune sort of you know, bringing in some of the best players across the world to play for them,’ Sutton said.

‘So maybe yeah, I mean, I think it’s a bit of a sweeping generalisation from Pep as much as anything, and maybe a dig, well, certainly a dig at a few.’

Palmer has flourished after his move from City to Chelsea in the summer, scoring four goals in 11 appearances for the Blues so far this season.

His performances have been rewarded by a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for their upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers.

Palmer is the latest player to move from Man City to a direct rival, after Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko joined Arsenal before helping the Gunners to challenge Guardiola’s side for the title last season.

Ladyman suggested Guardiola should have attempted to strike a deal with Palmer to reassure him over game-time to prevent the Man City academy product from pushing to move.    

‘With each passing game, with each passing move, with each passing kind of wave of that magical left foot, with each passing goal for Cole Palmer, with each passing contribution of note and merit, we ask that question, ‘why did City sell one of the best young players to a rival? Baffling,’ Ladyman said.

Ladyman suggested he would have offered Palmer a deal to convince him to stay at Man City

‘Frankly, I would just have said no. I’d have said no to him. I would have said, I’d have done him a deal.

‘What I would have done, I’d have said, look, you’re under contract until 2026, so at the time of this conversation, he would have had three years left. Stay for one year, stay for one year.

‘And if you want, if I’m not true to my word and you do not get the games that I’m telling you will, next summer we’ll sit down and talk about a transfer. 

‘That is what I would have done if I was Manchester City.’


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

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