Exclusive: Guardiola to reluctantly greenlight major Man City star’s exit; likeliest next club named
Pep Guardiola has both publicly and privately admitted he won’t prevent an integral Man City star from leaving this summer, and TEAMtalk can reveal the player’s likeliest next club.
Man City tore through a sorry-looking Liverpool on Saturday to keep the heat on league leaders Arsenal. The Gunners responded when defeating Leeds Utd by the same 4-1 scoreline that City had produced just a few hours prior.
Aside from Erling Haaland, the other notable absentee in City’s starting eleven was Bernardo Silva.
Yet the Portuguese remains a crucial figure for Guardiola, as evidenced by his 40 appearances across all competitions this season. Only Rodri (41) has made more.
Silva, 28, has repeatedly been linked with leaving City over each of the previous two summer windows. A move to Barcelona has been touted, though try as they might, they’ve never been unable to complete what would be a fantastic coup.
Indeed, the idea of fielding Spanish sensations Gavi and Pedri alongside the vastly more experienced Silva will hold massive appeal for Barca boss Xavi.
Now, speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, trusted reporter Ben Jacobs has claimed Silva’s long-awaited move to Barcelona could finally come to pass at season’s end.
Jacobs revealed Guardiola won’t stand in Silva’s way if he tried to force through a move. What’s more, given his contract (that expires in 2025) will now have one less year remaining, the previously cited transfer fee of £80m will no longer be required.
Barca will still need to stump up a sizeable sum which could be an issue given their well-documented financial strife. However, if they can raise the requisite funds through player sales, a Silva deal is there for the making.
“Very real possibility” Bernardo Silva leaves
“There’s a very real possibility that he leaves Manchester City for a new project simply because he’s been there and he’s done everything,” said Jacobs.
“Now might be the time to move but nothing is locked at the moment because Silva has a huge amount of respect for both the club and Pep Guardiola.”
On the links to Barcelona, Jacobs continued: “[club president] Joan Laporta said that Silva is a player very much on Barcelona’s radar.
“If we go back to last summer, when they were seriously exploring Silva, they hit a roadblock simply because Man City wanted well in excess of £80m.
“Barcelona had financial woes, and even if they could find the funds, could pay significantly less flashing forward to this summer. The price for Silva will drop as is normal, because the contract has a year less.
“If Silva tells City that he wants to leave, Pep Guardiola has already intimated both publicly and privately that he won’t stand in Silva’s way.
“Then it just becomes about the negotiation and where Barcelona have issues is they’re still going to have to find a fee. If Silva wants that move, the notion of a cut-price deal is very unlikely.
“So Barcelona are going to have to tie outgoings to any potential Silva incoming if they are to succeed.”
“Joan Laporta told me last year that Silva is a fit for Barcelona and quote, ‘an amazing player’. So that’s one to watch.”
Jacobs went on to claim PSG have also been sizing up a move for Silva and unlike Barcelona, would have no difficulty financing a move. However, there’s a feeling Silva’s “head has been turned” by the prospect of joining Barca.
As such, if the Portuguese maestro is to finally depart the Etihad this summer, a move to the Camp Nou is his likeliest destination.
READ MORE: Arsenal and Man City expected to offer €60m-plus to secure Real Madrid coup that would see major names replaced
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