West Bromwich Albion have been dealt a major blow in their bid to bring Liam Delap to The Hawthorns this summer.
In recent comments cited by the Express & Star, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola revealed that he has no intention of loaning the 18-year-old centre-forward out over what remains of the summer transfer window, with the Spaniard appearing adamant that the England U18 international will be a part of his first-team squad this season.
Guardiola said: “He’s going to train with us if a striker comes or doesn’t come. He’s going to train with us all the season.
“It’s the best way to help their development because the problem in the academies today here in England, the distance between the first team competition in the Premier League and the competition they play is too big.
“It’s really big and it’s difficult to promote them from here. That’s the best way with the players we believe have potential… those guys are going to be with us.”
Previous reports had claimed that Valerien Ismael was extremely interested in the idea of adding Delap to his West Brom squad this summer, with the Frenchman thought to hold the belief that his side is lacking depth in the number nine role.
Considering the sheer amount of potential Delap appears to possess, as well as the fact that the youngster was reported to be a personal target of Ismael, Guardiola’s latest comments regarding the future of the striker are sure to have left the 45-year-old Albion boss fuming.
Indeed, over his 20 Premier League 2 appearances for Manchester City’s U23 side last season, the £5k-per-week man bagged 24 goals and registered five assists, as well as scoring a further five goals and providing one more assist over four fixtures in the FA Youth Cup and EFL Trophy.
Furthermore, with Ismael currently only having Kenneth Zohore in his first-team squad who could really be classified as an out and out number nine, a player who, while out on loan at Millwall last season, only managed two goals over 17 Championship appearances, it would indeed appear as if the French manager could do with greater depth in the position.
However, with the player Guardiola dubbed an “exceptional” striker looking unlikely to leave the Etihad anytime soon, it would seem as if Ismael’s pursuit of Delap has hit a dead-end – something that, with only a matter of days now remaining in the summer transfer window, is sure to be an extremely frustrating outcome for the Baggies boss.