Pep Guardiola insists he wants Bernardo Silva to stay at Manchester City but admits the decision is out of his control amid interest from Barcelona.
Portugal international Silva was instrumental in City’s Premier League title defense last season, despite being linked with a move to the Nou Camp last summer.
Speculation has resurfaced this summer and Guardiola admits he is in the dark about Silva’s future at the club following the departures of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Aleksandar Zinchenko at the Etihad Stadium.
“I was comfortable working with Oleks [Zinchenko]Gabriel [Jesus] and Rahim [Sterling] for three incredible years, [they were] incredible characters who helped us achieve,” said the City boss.
“But at the end of the day, sometimes the club, sometimes the player, sometimes the agent, many reasons, sometimes you have to part ways.
“I have said many times that the player’s desire is the most important thing; I want people to be happy here trying to do it together. Of course I would love for Bernardo to continue here, he is a special player in the dressing room for me, but I don’t know what will happen. I honestly don’t know.
“What’s going to happen is going to happen and if he stays it’s perfect and if he has to leave it’s because that’s how football is, the clubs have an agreement, the player has his wishes and I’m not the guy to stop the desire of the people.
“When you’re a footballer, it’s short, you don’t realize it, it’s over immediately. I don’t want to stop the player’s desire, but at the same time I’m only a small part of the club, you have to talk to the club, I’ve never been involved in this and what the club has decided for me is OK.”
Guardiola reiterated his stance on Silva’s future when pressed on his uncertain response, adding: “I want the best for the players but I want Bernardo to stay, definitely 100 per cent, I want him to stay here.
“But at the same time, if you want to leave and you have an offer and the clubs have an agreement, what I said is reasonable, it’s nothing special, that’s the reality.
“He’s an important player for me, Bernardo is special. I don’t know what’s going to happen. As far as Manchester City knows, we haven’t received any offer, not even last season, that’s what I can say. Bernardo is ready, he’s training really well , it’s ready for Sunday and that’s it.”
City begin title defense away to West Ham on Super Sunday – live Sky Sports Premier League – but have yet to replace left-back Zinchenko, who joined Arsenal this summer.
Chelsea look set to beat the champions with the signing of Brighton defender Mark Cucurella, with Guardiola failing to provide an update on City’s pursuit of alternative defensive targets.
“Nothing much,” he added. “It’s the same. We’ll see. We still have many days until the end of the month. We will see.
“There are many players around the world and many of them can fit perfectly into the way we are as a team, but at the same time transfers are always difficult.
“Selling is harder than buying at the same time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It might be possible, but it’s not possible.”
Sky Sports’ Adam Smith:
Guardiola summed up his assessment of Silva at the end of last year: “He is the best. He has a special ability to do whatever he wants with the ball.”
The Portuguese was enjoying a purple spot in front of goal at the time, but the 27-year-old offers much more than attacking ability – but let’s start there.
Silva came second at City for goals from open play, chances created, final third passes completed and dribbles attempted in the Premier League last season.
His shot map below reveals an ability to find space and finish from key spots just outside the six-yard box, in addition to finding the back of the net from acute angles.
Meanwhile, his card created by chances epitomizes the variety of his passing range and positional versatility.
Silva patrols the entire attacking third, whether deployed on the left or right, but his defensive area of action underneath highlights defensive contributions, clean pitch coverage and work rate.
The midfielder ran more than any other player at the club last season, covering 381 kilometers during the league campaign – the equivalent of nine marathons.
In fact, only six players in the entire division managed to escape further and it’s worth noting that Guardiola rotates players more than most managers.
Taking all positions into account, Silva also ranks third at the club in a set of defensive metrics: tackles, duels won and ball recovery in the middle third. In short, Silva excels in every aspect of the game.
Man City in profit
The headline additions paint a skewed picture: the acquisitions of Erling Haaland and Calvin Phillips suggest another transfer window for City.
However, the club have offloaded Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Alexander Zinchenko and a host of youngsters for fees – resulting in a net profit of £61.7m so far.
The figures suggest a sea change in City’s approach and ability to cash in on assets, with this window on course to become their second successive window to finish in a profit – having matched or splashed more than they recovered in 10 of their previous 11 windows.
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