City were last week approaching an agreement with West Ham to sign Paqueta for a fee of around £85million, but a new FA investigation into alleged betting breaches by Paqueta has seen the treble winners shift their focus to other targets.
One option they are mulling over is Eze, who enjoyed his best season in the Premier League last term. He scored ten goals and made four assists, with six of those goals coming in the final ten matches after Roy Hodgson revitalised the 25-year-old in Palace’s impressive run-in.
That earned Eze his England debut against Malta in June and Hodgson is desperate for him to stay at Palace this season, after receiving the welcome news last Friday that Michael Olise had snubbed Chelsea’s interest and penned a four-year contract extension.
Standard Sport understands Palace are expected to tell any club who enquire about Eze’s availability that £70m is the lowest they would consider selling him for. That comes after the club received no fee when Wilfried Zaha left for Galatasaray this summer because he was out of contract and left on a free transfer.
Eze has two years left on his contract and is settled at Palace but keen to progress in his career. His previous club, QPR, would get a 20 per cent cut of the fee if he did leave Selhurst Park, after insisting on a sell-on clause when they sold him to Palace in 2020.
Newcastle are believed to have considered Eze as a midfield option earlier in the summer, before eventually signing Sandro Tonali from AC Milan for £55m.
Now Eze is of interest to City, who could be without Kevin De Bruyne until the new year due to the hamstring injury he sustained in the new season’s curtain-raiser at Burnley.
Pep Guardiola’s midfield has been boosted by the signing of Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea and the one-year contract extension Bernardo Silva, but losing Ilkay Gundogan to Barcelona has left them short on attack-minded central players.
Guardiola was willing to embark on the new season without a replacement for Gundogan, but De Bruyne’s injury changed the club’s thinking.
Also of interest to City is Wolves’s Matheus Nunes, who Guardiola deemed “one of the best players in the world” when Nunes was playing for Sporting CP in his homeland, Portugal, two seasons ago. The 24-year-old cost Wolves £38m last summer, so — like Eze — wouldn’t come cheap if City elected to take that route.
Palace are also desperate to keep defensive midfielder Cheick Doucoure. The 23-year-old signed from Lens last summer and is wanted by Liverpool.