The Hard Tackle takes a look at three potential transfer destinations for Bernardo Silva as he looks to leave Manchester City this summer.
Manchester City are, at the moment, the team to beat in England. While Chelsea might be the champions of Europe, there is no team more domineering in the Premier League than Manchester City, who have become a picture of pure dominance.
That has been possible due to the genius of Pep Guardiola and the fact that the Citizens have assembled a squad that is capable of churning out two separate world class starting lineups when at full strength. However, that is not without its pitfalls, with reports in the last few months claiming that a number of players are unhappy with being rotation options when they can be starting week in week out elsewhere.
One such player who falls in this category is Bernardo Silva, with Pep Guardiola recently admitting that the 26-year-old playmaker wishes to call it quits at Manchester City. Such a development is sure to alert a number of prospective suitors, with the Portuguese international potentially becoming a hot property in the transfer market.
A move away from Manchester City might not hurt Silva one bit, seeing as Jack Grealish’s arrival is likely to affect his standing at the Etihad anyway. So, with the player keen on leaving Manchester City, The Hard Tackle attempts to list down three potential destinations for the 26-year-old.
The first name on our list is pretty obvious. Barcelona hold a long-standing interest in Bernardo Silva, having also been fleetingly linked with the Portuguese playmaker before he left AS Monaco to join Manchester City four years ago. That interest does not seem to have dissipated over the years, with the Blaugrana still keen on signing the Portuguese playmaker.
It is hardly surprising why Barcelona would want to land Silva, seeing as their resourced in midfield are running pretty thin despite the sheer volume of players available. Indeed, upon closer look, it becomes clear that Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri are the only viable candidates to feature week in week out.
That is because Miralem Pjanic has been deemed to be surplus to requirements whereas Ilaix Moriba has been inching closer to the exit door at Camp Nou with every passing day due to a bitter contract standoff that has resulted in him being frozen out of the reserve side, let alone the first-team.
In addition, Riqui Puig has not been fancied enough by Ronald Koeman since he was appointed as the new manager last year while it is also important to note that Busquets is in the twilight of his career and cannot feature twice or thrice a season over the course of an entire season. So, it will hardly be surprising if Barcelona end up launching the offensive for the 26-year-old, although his price tag could probably be a bone in contention.
While Barcelona might struggle to meet Silva’s valuation amid their financial woes, one club that is likelier to be able to afford Silva is Atletico Madrid. And like their rivals in La Liga, Atletico Madrid have also had the Portuguese international on their radar for quite some time now.
While it might be surprising that Los Rojiblancos could be in the market for another playmaker in the wake of signing Rodrigo De Paul, it is important to note that Hector Herrera and Geoffrey Kondogbia have been touted to be on the exit trail at the Wanda Metropolitano.
In addition, the future of Saul Niguez, who has coincidentally been heavily linked with Barcelona, is up in the air, with Spanish international likely to be offloaded this summer. Therefore, it becomes clear why Atletico Madrid would want to sign someone like Bernardo Silva.
While he is a natural creator, playing under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola has also enabled the 26-year-old to work on the defensive side of his game. That all points towards Silva adding a lot of value to the Atletico Madrid first-team setup, making them the likeliest destination for the wantaway Manchester City man.
The final club on our list might come as a surprise to many, considering how far they have dropped in the last few seasons. However, Arsenal are still quite a prestigious name as far as the Premier League is concerned, despite the fact that they will not being playing in Europe at all in the coming season.
Also, Mikel Arteta does seem to be building an attractive project, even if he has been found wanting on the tactical front numerous times. So, a cross-Premier League switch to the Emirates cannot be ruled out just yet, especially if Arsenal continue to be intent on spending big to build a formidable squad for the upcoming campaign.
Arsenal have indeed been linked heavily with Silva in recent weeks, and he could well be a more viable option for them to pursue instead of James Maddison. That is because the 26-year-old has the ability to play three different positions, offering a lot of dynamism in midfield as well as attack, unlike Maddison.
In addition, Silva is likely to be more cost-effective than Maddison, whose price tag is nearing the £70 million mark. So, all in all, Silva appears to be a better option than the English playmaker, although it is fair to assume that Arsenal could lag behind Atletico Madrid and Barcelona – if they can afford him – in the race to sign Silva.