Pep Guardiola has reiterated his desire to keep Bernardo Silva at Manchester City but admitted he would not stand in the player’s way if he asked to leave.
The 27-year-old was one of City’s top players last season as they secured a fourth Premier League title in five years, but he has regularly been linked with a move to Barcelona over the past few years -and the Camp Nou outfit are rumoured to be ready to send a big bid City’s way.
Ahead of City’s Premier League opener against West Ham on Sunday, Guardiola urged Silva to stay but confessed he would not block the exit of any unhappy player, as was the case with Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and Oleksandr Zinchenko earlier this summer.
“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,” he began.
“At the end, sometimes for the clubs, for the player, for the agent, for many reasons sometimes you have to divide our path – especially the desire for the players. I have said many times I want players to be happy here and for us to try to do it together.
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“I would love if Bernardo could continue here because he’s a special player for all of us in the locker room, but I don’t know what is going to happen. What will happen is going to happen.
“If he stays, it is perfect. If in the end he has to leave it is because football is like this, the clubs have an agreement, the player has the desire and I will not be the reason to stop the desire.
“When you are a football player your life is so short. You don’t realise and immediately it is over. At the same time. I’m just a little part of the club. What the club decides is okay for me.”
Silva’s future is expected to be tied to that of Frenkie de Jong, who Barcelona hope to offload this summer for over €80m – the sort of money it would take to convince City to part ways with someone of Silva’s quality.
90min understands that Manchester United remain in talks to land the Dutchman but Chelsea have made progress in their attempts to hijack the transfer.