"I want Bernardo to stay, definitely, 100 per cent... but I don't know what is going to happen,"; City boss provides update on left-back search; Watch West Ham vs Man City live on Super Sunday from 4pm on Sky Sports Premier League; kick-off 4.30pm
Friday 5 August 2022 13:11, UK
Pep Guardiola insists he wants Bernardo Silva to stay at Manchester City but concedes the decision is out of his control amid interest from Barcelona.
Portugal international Silva played an integral role in City's Premier League title defence last season despite being linked with a move to the Nou Camp last summer.
Speculation has resurfaced this summer and Guardiola admits he is in the dark about Silva's future at the club following the departures of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko away from the Etihad Stadium.
"I was comfortable working with Oleks [Zinchenko], Gabriel [Jesus] and Raheem [Sterling] for three incredible years, [they were] incredible characters that helped us achieve," the City boss said.
"But, in the end, sometimes the club, sometimes the player, sometimes the agent, many reasons, sometimes you have to divide our path.
"I've said many times the desire of the player is the most important thing; I want people happy here trying to do it together. Of course, I would love for Bernardo to continue here, he is a special player in the dressing room for me, but I don't know what is going to happen. Honestly, I don't know.
"What is going to happen will happen and if he stays it's perfect, and if he has to leave it's because football is like this, the clubs have an agreement, the player has desires, and I am not the person to stop the desire of people.
"When you are a football player it's short, you don't realise it, immediately it's over. I don't want to stop the desire of a player but, at the same time, I'm just a little part of the club, you have to talk to the club, I have never ever been involved in that, and what the club decides for me is OK."
Guardiola reaffirmed his stance on Silva's future when pressed on his uncertain response, adding: "I want the best for the players, but I want Bernardo to stay, definitely, 100 per cent, I want him to stay here.
"But, at the same time, if you want to leave and have an offer and the clubs have an agreement, it's common sense what I said, it's nothing special, this is the reality.
"He's an important player for me, Bernardo is special. I don't know what is going to happen. As far as Manchester City know, we didn't get any offer, last season either, this is what I can say. Bernardo is ready, he's training really well, he's ready for Sunday and that's all."
City open their title defence away at West Ham on Super Sunday - live on Sky Sports Premier League - but have yet to bring in a replacement for left-back Zinchenko, who joined Arsenal this summer.
Chelsea look set to beat the champions to the signing of Brighton defender Marc Cucurella, and Guardiola was unable to provide an update on City's pursuit of alternative defensive targets.
"Nothing special," he added. "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."
Sky Sports' Adam Smith:
Guardiola summed up his appreciation for Silva late last year: "He is the best. He has a special ability to do whatever he wants with the ball."
The Portuguese was enjoying a purple patch in front of goal at the time, but the 27-year-old offers so much more than attacking abilities - but let's start there.
Silva ranked second at City for goals from open play, creating chances, completing passes in the final third and attempting dribbles in the Premier League last season.
His shot map below reveals an ability to find space and finish from prime locations just outside the six-yard box, in addition to finding the back of the net from acute angles.
Meanwhile, his chances-created map epitomises the variety of his passing range and positional versatility.
Silva patrols the entire attacking third, whether deployed down the left or right, but it's his defensive action zone below that underlines defensive contributions, sheer coverage on the pitch and work rate.
The midfielder ran farther than any other player at the club last term, clocking 381km over the league campaign - equating to nine marathons.
In fact, only six players in the entire division ran farther, and it's worth noting Guardiola rotates players more than most managers.
Factoring all positions, Silva also ranked third at the club across a raft of defensive metrics: tackles, winning duels and reclaiming possession in the middle third. In short, Silva excels in every aspect of the game.
The headline additions paint a skewed picture: acquisitions of Erling Haaland and Kalvin Phillips would suggest another blockbuster transfer window at City.
However, the club have offloaded Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Oleksandr Zinchenko and a host of youngsters for fees - resulting in a net profit of £61.7m thus far.
The figures suggest a sea change in approach and City's ability to cash in on assets, with this window on course to become their second successive to end in profit - having matched or splashed more than they had recouped in 10 of their previous 11 windows.
Who will be on the move this summer before the transfer window closes at 11pm on September 1?
Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.
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