Manchester City are not only struggling to make signings in their pursuit of a new left-back, but the Premier League champions could be without one of their key players.
Pep Guardiola has insisted he will not stand in Bernardo Silva’s way if Barcelona make a move for the midfielder before the summer transfer window closes.
The Portugal international has been one of Man City’s most outstanding players since his arrival from Monaco in 2017 for around £43million.
The 27-year-old has managed 48 goals and 50 assists in 250 appearances for the club, but is now being linked with a move away.
Barcelona have been linked with a strong interest in the midfielder, and could make a move should Frenkie de Jong depart the Nou Camp this summer with Manchester United and now Chelsea in the race to sign the Dutchman.
Guardiola has made it clear City are yet to receive an official offer for Silva yet, but says he will not stop any of his players from leaving the Etihad Stadium if they want out – as the club has already seen this summer with a number of outgoings.
The Spanish coach was speaking on Friday morning in his first pre-match press conference of the new season, ahead of City’s opener against West Ham on Sunday.
Guardiola told the media: “I said many times, my satisfaction training the guys was massive, it was really good. I was comfortable working with Oleks [Zinchenko – joined Arsenal], Raheem [Sterling – joined Chelsea], Gabriel [Jesus – joined Arsenal], incredible characters that helped us achieve what we achieved.
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“Sometimes for the club, sometimes for the players, sometimes for the agent, sometimes you have to divide our path. Especially the desire of the player is the most important thing.
“Of course I would love Bernardo to continue here, he is a special player for us. But I don’t know what is going to happen.
“What happens will happen, and if he stays it is perfect and in the end if he has to leave it is because football is like this, the player has a desire. I will not be a person to stop a desire for the people.
“When you are a football player it is so short, you don’t realise and it is nearly over. The player will have to talk to the club and I have never ever been involved in that.”
The City boss also admitted they are no closer to signing a new left-back after missing out on Marc Cucurella.
The champions submitted a bid for the Brighton star, but he now looks set to join Chelsea instead, leaving Guardiola still on the hunt for Oleksandr Zinchenko’s replacement.
Asked for an update on City’s left-back chase, he said: “Nothing special. It is the same. We will see. We still have lots of days until the end of the month. We will see.
“There are a lot of players all around the world and a lot of them can fit in perfectly the way we are as a team, but at the same time transfers are always difficult.
“Selling is more difficult than buying at the same time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It can be possible, it cannot be possible.”
It’s been quite a shake-up for Man City this summer, with Erling Haaland coming in the door while a number of their regular players have left to seek pastures new.
And Guardiola reckons this season will be tougher than ever to retain their Premier League title.
“Every year I have the feeling that this season is harder,” he said. “I think that next season cannot be harder and it’s harder.
“Everyone is getting better, every club every owner invests. Many teams do it and do it well, the quality is there and the managers are exceptional. That’s why it is exciting and that’s why the Premier League is the best.”
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