West Ham United midfielder Lucas Paquetá is being investigated by the Football Association over potential betting breaches at a crucial time in his career. Manchester City was exploring a deal for the 25-year-old Brazillian player. However, the deal has now been stalled over “allegations of gambling in football,” as per The Guardian.
Sources close to the player told the publication that they were shocked by the investigation and that Paquetá had not been accused of making bets. According to reports, the investigation involves a bet placed by Paqueta on getting booked during West Ham’s match against Aston Villa in March, where the player received a yellow card for a challenge on John McGinn.
Brazilian outlet Globo reported the initial analysis showed that on that day several new accounts were created at Betway, with users depositing the maximum amount allowed. “These accounts made a matched bet to increase the winnings: the authors would only receive the money if Paquetá took a yellow card against Villa,” the report stated.
The Daily Mail stated that the investigations into the Brazilian have to do with wagers placed in Brazil and are related to in-game incidents rather than the outcomes of West Ham’s matches. Although it is unclear what those in-game incidents are, Paquetá has yet to be formally questioned by authorities. As the inquiry proceeds, the player has denied any wrongdoing and is expected to seek legal counsel from his team.
Paqueta joined West Ham last summer from Fench club Lyon for a club-record fee of £51 million (approx. $65 million). He scored four goals in 28 Premier League appearances last season, won the Europa Conference League with the club, and has 42 caps for Brazil.
His skill with the ball also impressed Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola, who has been watching the midfielder following an injury to City’s top player Kevin De Bruyne, who is expected to be sidelined for at least four months after sustaining a major hamstring injury.