Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Bernardo Silva: Pep Guardiola admits star may leave, claiming Man City could cope without Barcelona target

Bernardo Silva, Man City July 2022

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has refused to rule out Bernardo Silva leaving this summer but confirmed no offers have yet arrived for the attacker.

City have had a busy summer on both the arrivals and departures front. Striker Erling Haaland is the statement capture from Borussia Dortmund, with all eyes also on ex-Leeds United man Kalvin Phillips.

On the flipside, though, City have made headlines – more so than a lot of other Premier League teams – for their sales.

Raheem Sterling has gone to Chelsea, while Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko have signed for Arsenal. The three exits strengthen the teams directly below the Etihad Stadium club.

However, Portugal attacker Silva could yet leave Man City too. The 27-year-old has strong links with a move to Barcelona, who want to continue their flurry of top summer acquisitons.

Speaking at Friday’s press conference, Guardiola refused to rule out Silva’s departure, be it to the La Liga giants or elsewhere.

“I said many times, I was more than satisfied to train the guys these years, I was comfortable working with Alex, Gabriel, Raheem. Three incredible characters,” the Spaniard said.

“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.”

Guardiola could cope without Bernardo Silva

Guardiola added that he finds it easier to work with a smaller group of players, despite the pressure an injury crisis may then cause.

“I like to work with not many players and have everyone involved,” he said.

“It is what it is. We have shown in the last years we have a small squad and we are there in the last stages. We have a transfer window in winter where we can take something we cannot do now.”

City could yet make another left-back signing to replace Zinchenko, but Guardiola said: “The transfer market is often difficult. Selling is harder than buying but sometimes it is not possible. We have an academy and we will see.”

Man City still title favourites

Despite losing Sterling and Jesus from their attack, many have predicted City to win the Premier League again.

Haaland could have scored at least twice on his competitive debut in last weekend’s 3-1 Community Shield defeat to Liverpool.

If he clicks into gear, there is every chance the doubt over City’s loss of attackers fades away.

Guardiola has also added Julian Alvarez to his squad. The exciting young Argentine went one better than Haaland against Liverpool by netting the equaliser.

But it will be interesting to see if Silva leaves too – and if it happens – what effect it will have on City’s attack.