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How Man City could use Bernardo Silva’s potential move to Barcelona to their advantage

After arguably his best season yet in a Manchester City shirt, reports linking Bernardo Silva with a move from the club weren’t what City fans wanted to see this week.

A spate of reports suggests the 28-year-old is Barcelona manager Xavi’s priority target and should Bernardo announce he wants to move to the Camp Nou, City would demand at least a €80m (£68.3m) fee by the Spanish giants.

MEN Sports understands that Bernardo is happy at the club and with life in Manchester while City are in no mood to sell one of their best players. When asked about the matter last week, Pep Guardiola said it would be ‘very difficult’ for Barcelona to sign their midfielder.

CONTINUE READING: Man City are just three players away from completing their dream squad for 2022/23

While the reports appear to be largely speculation, the way they’re gaining traction and increasing in number is a little unsettling for City, to say the least, as is Bernardo’s failure to dismiss the rumors in a recent television interview.

As of this writing, it seems more than likely that Bernardo will wear a sky blue shirt next season but the question of how City would adapt to life without the Portuguese midfielder remains intriguing.

Hijack Manchester United

Manchester United have been closely linked with Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong for the past week, with the Dutch midfielder now reportedly open to a reunion with his old manager Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford.

News arrives from Spain that Barcelona would only be happy to let the 25-year-old go if they can replace him with Bernardo.

In recent years United have developed a habit of hijacking City’s transfer negotiations and signing their targets, but if City wanted to cut out the middleman and sign an elite replacement for Bernardo, they could turn the tables on their neighbors.

Guardiola has long been an admirer of De Jong – he was keen to sign him when he left Ajax for FC Barcelona in 2019 – but City are said to be uninterested at the moment. A swap would make things easier though…

Next level of Foden development

Should City sell Bernardo without signing a replacement, we could see the next stage in Phil Foden’s development.

Since breaking into Guardiola’s first-team squad, Foden has played mainly on the left wing and sometimes in the middle as a false nine or a striker. During his youth career, the City Academy graduate played as number eight but so far Guardiola has felt he hasn’t quite had his composure or Break playing this role regularly at the highest level.

If Bernardo leaves, it could be an opportunity for Foden to get back into midfield. He has finished eighth in a number of games for England this season and has impressed with his excellent passing distance and vision. A change in position would also allow City to still have a left-footed midfielder who maintains that balance in their attack.

A deep fall from Foden could also mean Jack Grealish getting more minutes on the left wing, which would no doubt help his adaptation to Guardiola’s system.

The next generation

Bernardo’s departure could see Cole Palmer and James McAtee earn more minutes in midfield, although Guardiola are unlikely to use them in key games.

With Bernardo gone, Kevin De Bruyne will have to carry more creative load, so in the ‘smaller’ games the duo could have a chance to come in and give him a break. It’s a similar story with Ilkay Gundogan – the German turns 32 in October so careful management of his minutes could offer the young duo more opportunities.

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