Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was lining up a move for new West Ham signing Lucas Paqueta if Bernardo Silva had left for Barcelona last month.
City have been in danger of losing Bernardo in the last two summer windows. The Portugal star is well liked in Catalonia by Barca boss Xavi.
Bernardo has developed into one of Guardiola’s trusted lieutenants and City are under no pressure to sell. The player still has With three years left on his existing deal.
But despite all the noise coming from Spain there was no official offer. And City were also very keen on keeping the 28-year-old.
“I am staying at Manchester City. I haven’t received any offers, and the decision has been made,” said Bernardo on deadline day last week.
That would have been music to the ears of Guardiola, who has seen the midfielder improve year on year at The Etihad.
“He will stay here. Absolutely.
“We don’t have any phone call from any club regarding Bernardo Silva, so he is staying,” Guardiola said.
But City were making contingency plans just in case Bernardo had decided to move on. And Fabrizio Romano has claimed that Guardiola had targeted Paqueta.
Paul Pogba was reportedly another option, but the France midfielder did not want to continue in England after leaving Manchester United. Instead Pogba returned to Juventus on a four-year deal after running down his deal at Old Trafford.
The 29-year-old won the Serie A title four times with the Italian giants before a then world-record £89m transfer to United in 2016.
Paqueta ‘really appreciated’ by Pep
But it was Paqueta that Guardiola had earmarked to replace Bernardo.
The Brazil international has since signed for West Ham in a club-record deal that could hit £51m.
The 25-year-old signed a deal until 2027 with a one-year option and he has already made two appearances for the Hammers.
Speaking on the Here We Go Podcast, Romano said: “Paul Pogba was one of the options when he was still a free agent. But Pogba decided not to continue in England.
“The main option for Man City in case of the Bernardo deal with Barcelona was Lucas Paqueta. He was really appreciated by Pep Guardiola, really appreciated by the board.
“They had some discussions with the agents, but it was never advanced because City were more than happy to keep Bernardo Silva. Paqueta was a serious option,” Romano added.
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