Pep Guardiola sees Bernardo Silva’s future at Manchester City but accepts that could all change if the player sets his heart on a move to Barcelona.
The LaLiga giants are thought to be keen on City’s Portuguese midfield star and could be preparing a bid to take him to Camp Nou.
Silva has spent five fruitful years with City, winning four Premier League titles in that time, and at the age of 27 can be reasonably considered to be still in his prime years.
Guardiola is aware of the Barca speculation but says he sees Silva as being settled, pointing to his fiancee and his dog as reasons for him to be happy with his life.
But after selling Oleksandr Zinchenko, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus during the off-season, it is clear that City are a club willing to do deals if the timing and the terms are right.
“I was comfortable working with Oleks, Gabriel and Raheem. They were three figures with incredible characters who helped us achieve a lot,” said Guardiola.
“Sometimes players have to depart our path. The desire of the players is the most important thing. I want people happy here, to be here and to try to do it together.
“Of course I’d love if Bernardo could continue here. He’s been a special player here, for the locker room. I don’t know what is going to happen.
“If he stays, it’s perfect, and if he has to leave it’s because football is like this, and the clubs have an agreement and the player has desires. When you’re a football player [the career] is so short. When the club decides, for me it is okay.
“I want Bernardo to stay, definitely. To find players is difficult. I want 100 per cent Bernardo to stay here, but in 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.
“This is the reality. He’s an important player for me, Bernardo is special, but I don’t know what’s going to happen. Man City, as far as I know, didn’t get any offer. Bernardo’s training and doing really well, ready for Sunday.”
City start their Premier League title defence at West Ham on Sunday, with Erling Haaland expected to make his debut in the competition.
Unless there is a dramatic intervention from Barcelona, Silva also looks set to feature at London Stadium.
The City star had his best season for Premier League goals last season, netting eight times in 35 games, having managed to score just twice in the previous campaign.
He and girlfriend Ines Degener Tomaz, who share a home with dog John, then became engaged at the end of the campaign.
Thank you for all the messages we received these last few days! We are very happy (John doesn’t look but he is!!) pic.twitter.com/SGmaMJ2Ems
— Bernardo Silva (@BernardoCSilva) May 31, 2022
“I talk a lot with Bernardo,” said Guardiola. “But also with all of them, maybe because I’m getting old and we know each other quite well.
“Now the relationship is completely different to three or four years ago. I know the feelings they have, the good moments and the bad moments.
“I talk with them, but not especially with this situation. If he has to tell me something, he will tell me. I don’t have doubts about that, but we don’t talk about this situation.
“He’s our player. I know he’s happy: he’s engaged, he has a beautiful dog, so he’s happy here, I know that, and what’s going to happen is going to happen.”