Not only are Manchester City struggling to make signings in their quest for a new left-back, but the Premier League champions could be left without one of their key players.
Pep Guardiola has insisted he won’t stand in the way of Bernardo Silva should Barcelona make a move for the midfielder before the summer transfer window closes.
The Portugal international has been one of Man City’s most notable players since arriving from Monaco in 2017 for around £43m.
The 27-year-old has managed 48 goals and 50 assists in 250 appearances for the club but is now linked with an exit.
Barcelona have been linked with strong interest in the midfielder and could make a move if Frenkie de Jong leaves Camp Nou this summer with Manchester United and now Chelsea in the race to sign the Dutchman.
Guardiola has made it clear City have yet to receive an official offer for Silva but says he won’t stop any of his players from leaving the Etihad Stadium if they wish – as the club have seen before this summer with a number of releases. .
The Spanish coach was speaking in his first pre-match press conference of the new season on Friday morning, ahead of City’s opener against West Ham on Sunday.
Guardiola told the media: “I said many times, my satisfaction in coaching the guys was huge, it was really good. I was comfortable working with Oleks [Zinchenko – joined Arsenal]Rahem [Sterling – joined Chelsea]Gabriel [Jesus – joined Arsenal]incredible characters who have helped us achieve what we have achieved.
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“Sometimes for the club, sometimes for the players, sometimes for the agent, sometimes we have to split our path. Especially the desire of the player is the most important thing.
“Of course I would like Bernardo to continue here, he is a special player for us. But I don’t know what will happen.
“What’s happening is going to happen, and if he stays it’s perfect and in the end if he has to leave it’s because football is like that, the player has a desire. I won’t be a nobody to stop a desire for the people.
“When you’re a footballer it’s so short, you don’t realize it and it’s almost over. The player will have to talk to the club and I’ve never been involved in that.
The City boss also admitted he was nowhere near signing a new left-back after missing out on Marc Cucurella.
The champions have 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 pursuit of the left-back, he said: “Nothing special. It is the same. We’ll see. We still have plenty of days until the end of the month. We’ll see.
“There are a lot of players all over the world and a lot of them can fit perfectly into 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 may be possible, it may not be possible.
It’s been quite a shake-up for Man City this summer, with Erling Haaland arriving while a number of their regulars have left in search of new pastures.
And Guardiola believes this season will be harder than ever to retain his Premier League title.
“Every year I feel like this season is more difficult,” he said. “I think next season can’t be more difficult and it’s even more difficult.
“Everyone is improving, every club, every owner is investing. A lot of teams are doing it and doing it well, the quality is there and the managers are exceptional. That’s why it’s exciting and that’s why the Premier League is the best.”
The Premier League is back and talkSPORT has it covered, with games on Friday, Saturday and Monday, starting with Crystal Palace against Arsenal on August 5
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