Manchester City’s anticipated £80 million transfer move for Lucas Paqueta from West Ham has been called off due to an ongoing FA investigation into alleged betting breaches involving the midfielder. While a deal had been agreed upon in principle, West Ham received notification on Wednesday regarding the FA inquiry. Although there was a slim chance of the transfer proceeding on Friday, it is now unlikely. Sources close to the deal remain hopeful that Paqueta’s move to City could still happen in January.
The 25-year-old Brazilian player will be interviewed by the FA as part of their investigation, vehemently denying any wrongdoing. The focus of the investigation centers around three yellow cards Paqueta received during Premier League matches this year. The probe began after an unusually high number of bets were placed in Brazil regarding Paqueta receiving a yellow card in West Ham’s game against Aston Villa on March 12. Paqueta also received yellow cards for challenges on John McGinn of Aston Villa and Crysensio Summerville of Leeds United. The bets were placed from accounts registered in Paqueta, an island off Rio de Janeiro, but he denies involvement in placing the bets.
The International Betting Integrity Association reported these bets, which led to alerts being raised with FIFA and the FA. FIFA declined to comment on ongoing investigations. As a consequence of these developments, Paqueta has been left out of Brazil’s squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Bolivia. However, he is expected to participate in West Ham’s match against Brighton on Saturday.
During the previous season, Paqueta received nine bookings for club and country. It remains to be seen how the FA investigation will progress and whether it will have lasting implications for the talented midfielder.