Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has risked the wrath of West Ham fans after claiming that no “big clubs” were in discussions to sign Lucas Paqueta from them.
The Brazilian playmaker completed a £36.7m move to the London Stadium on Monday afternoon, becoming the club’s eighth major signing of the summer following deals for Gianluca Scamacca, Maxwel Cornet, Emerson, Nayef Aguerd, Thilo Kehrer, Flynn Downes and Alphonse Areola.
Paqueta had been linked with a host of elite names before West Ham’s interest emerged as concrete, with Arsenal technical director Edu even publicly declaring his admiration for his compatriot only last month. “I’m a guy who likes him a lot, I’ve always liked him, since my time with Brazil’s national team,” Edu stated in July.
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Despite apparent interest from elsewhere, Paqueta has joined the East Londoners for a club-record fee, with the deal potentially rising up to £50m when taking into account add-ons. It’s an unprecedented sum for the Hammers, but one that has been met with enthusiasm from the club’s impassioned fanbase.
Aulas’ recent comments, though, probably won’t receive that same level of glee, with the Lyon president recently going on record to claim that he was expecting concrete interest from “very big clubs”, but in the end they had to deal with West Ham at the death.
“It’s unfortunate that Lucas Paqueta is leaving, but he wanted to leave.” Aulas told Canal+. “We thought we had very big clubs, we did not have them. We had to discuss with West Ham at the last moment.”
Paqueta joins the capital club with a burgeoning reputation as a hard-working yet dazzling playmaker, able to get fans off their seats with moments of fleet-footed wonder, but not afraid to track back and put in the hard yards for his team-mates, a prerequisite for any footballer playing under Moyes.
It’s an exciting prospect for the top six-chasing club, and he could make his club debut on Wednesday night against Tottenham.
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