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Pep Guardiola refuses to rule out Bernardo Silva sale amid Barcelona links

Pep Guardiola refuses to rule out Bernardo Silva sale amid Barcelona links
© Reuters
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola refuses to rule out the prospect of selling playmaker Bernardo Silva this summer, amid reported interest from Barcelona.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has refused to rule out the prospect of selling playmaker Bernardo Silva this summer, amid reported interest from Barcelona.

The 27-year-old Portugal international expressed his desire to leave the Etihad Stadium last summer before enjoying a productive 2021-22 campaign for the Citizens.

Silva recorded 13 goals and seven assists in 50 appearances across all competitions, with Joao Cancelo the only player who featured on more occasions under Guardiola last season.

The former Monaco man has three years remaining on his City contract and he is still regarded as a key cog in Guardiola's machine ahead of the new campaign.

However, his long-term future continues to be questioned, with Catalan giants Barcelona believed to be huge admirers of the £80m-rated playmaker.

Earlier this summer, Guardiola stated that Silva would be staying at the Etihad for the 2022-23 season, but he has since expressed uncertainty of the player's future.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola pictured on July 23, 2022© Reuters

City have already allowed Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko to seek pastures new, and while Guardiola is keen for Silva to stay, he is resigned to the fact that he could be sold this summer.

When questioned about Silva at a press conference on Friday ahead of City's opening Premier League game with West Ham United, Guardiola said: "I said many times, I was more than satisfaction to train the guys these years. I was comfortable working with Aleks, Gabriel, Raheem. Three incredible characters.

"At the end, for the club, for the players, for the agents, many reasons. Sometimes you have to sell. For the desire for the players, I need people happy here, we try to do it together. I would love for Bernardo to continue here, a very special player in the locker room.

"But I don't know what will happen. What happens will happen, if he stays is perfect, if he has to leave it's because football is like this. Players have desire and I'm not a person to stop a person desire in life. Football career is so short. I'm a small part of the club, I have to speak to the club, they decide and I say okay."

Guardiola added: "I always say I want the best for the players. I want Bernardo to stay. 100%. But at the same time if you want to leave, have an offer, clubs come to an agreement. Common sense.

"He's an important player, special, but I don't know what will happen. We didn't get any offer, last season neither. Bernardo's ready, training well for Sunday.

Manchester City's Bernardo Silva celebrates scoring their fifth goal before it is disallowed after a VAR review on February 15, 2022 © Reuters

"I talk a lot with Bernardo, with all of them, maybe because I'm getting old and we know each other quite well. I'm more relaxed as a manager with them, I know them.

"Their feelings, the good and bad moments. But not about this situation, if I have to tell him something I tell him, but we don't have doubts about the situation. He's happy, engaged, he has a beautiful dog. He's happy here, what will happen will happen."

Despite their well-documented financial problems, Barcelona have spent over £150m on five new players so far this summer and they remain active in the transfer market.

President Joan Laporta stated at the beginning of this month that Silva is "a very good player" but refused to be drawn on speculation linking the playmaker with a summer switch to Camp Nou.

"He is a very good player," Laporta told CBS Sports. "I have to respect, though, that he belongs to Manchester City. I have some friends there, like Pep Guardiola, Txiki Begiristain and Khaldoon Al Mubarak. There are a lot of people I know."

Silva, who has also been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, played the full 90 minutes for City in their 3-1 defeat against Liverpool in the Community Shield last Saturday, and the Portuguese star is expected to be involved against West Ham as the Premier League champions begin their title defence at the London Stadium on Sunday.

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Manchester City's Bernardo Silva celebrates scoring their fifth goal before it is disallowed after a VAR review on February 15, 2022
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