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Manchester City star Bernardo Silva is moving closer to joining Barcelona in his pursuit of a move away from the Etihad Stadium this summer, according to a new report from Spain.
The long-term future of Bernardo Silva at Manchester City has been a point of contention for two seasons running.
After the UK spent months in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic last summer, the 27-year-old was reported to be one of many non-English Manchester City first-team players keen on a switch closer to home.
Silva was strongly linked with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in 2021, but the financial constraints of the pandemic meant a move failed to materialise for the four-time Premier League winner.
In the subsequent campaign, Silva put his failed move behind him and proceeded to put in staggering displays in midfielder for Pep Guardiola, who is believed to have been crucial in convincing the Portugal international to stay put at the Etihad Stadium last summer.
Scoring 13 times and providing seven assists in 50 appearances across all competitions for the Blues last season, Silva played a key role in his side's retention of the Premier League title as well as their run to the Champions League semi-final.
In recent weeks however, the strong rumours of Silva’s desire to join Barcelona have resurfaced, causing one of the bigger transfer sagas of the summer to percolate.
While the Spanish giants are said to be strapped for cash and in the midst of refinancing a reported debt of over €1 billion, they appear keen on proceeding with an audacious swoop for Bernardo Silva, who is said to be valued by the Etihad hierarchy at €80-90 million.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola recently vocalised the club’s desire to keep hold of the former AS Monaco star at the official announcement of his side's charity friendly with Barcelona at the Camp Nou in August.
Despite Barcelona’s well-known financial woes, the La Liga club are said to believe that capturing Silva’s signature would ‘significantly increase the level of competition in the team’.
However, one significant factor in the saga for Barcelona is the future prospects of midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who has attracted heavy interest from Manchester United following the arrival of newly-appointed manager Erik ten Hag.
According to the report, the potential signing of Bernardo Silva is ‘totally conditioned to the exit’ of De Jong from the Camp Nou.
Some reports have suggested a swap deal involving De Jong and Silva could be on the cards, however early indications from Spain are Manchester City do not want to sign the former and will instead look to convince Silva to remain at the Etihad Stadium.
With Silva’s teammates Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling also understood to be pushing for exits, the Premier League champions could be looking at a mass exodus in the ongoing transfer window.
With three years remaining on Silva's current contract in Manchester, City have set a sizeable asking fee for the playmaker and are under no pressure to sanction a sale unless he expresses a strong desire to leave and Barcelona table an acceptable offer this summer.
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