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Palmer has asked to leave Man City for 'two years' – Guardiola

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Cole Palmer tried to leave Manchester City “for two seasons” before moving to Chelsea, Pep Guardiola said on Friday.

Palmer moved to Stamford Bridge for £42.5 million ($53 million) in the summer and is one of the season's new signings, having scored 23 goals in all competitions, including 20 in the Premier League.

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

“He is an exceptional player,” Guardiola said at a press conference.

“I have often said that I did not give the minutes that he perhaps deserved and that he now has at Chelsea. I completely understand that.”

“He’s a shy guy with a lot of potential. That's it. He's playing fantastic, so what can I say? The decision was made for many reasons.”

“He asked to leave the club for two seasons and I said he would stay. He said he wanted to go. What could we do? I said he was staying because of Riyadh.” [Mahrez] is gone, but he wanted to leave for two seasons.

City face Palmer's Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday and will be looking to bounce back from their Champions League exit at Real Madrid. Guardiola expects Kevin De Bruyne to be available despite his exit against the Spanish giants, but Erling Haaland will be monitored ahead of the game after he was also substituted against Real Madrid.

“Kevin is fine,” Guardiola said. “We’ll see with Erling. It was a tough game, 120 minutes. Lots of action, high intensity on both sides.”

“Erling felt something, a muscle problem, and that's why he said he couldn't continue. Kevin felt exhausted and that’s normal after five months out due to injury.”