Pep Guardiola refuses to rule out Bernardo Silva leaving Manchester City

L-R Manchester City's Bernardo Silva and Liverpool's Fabio Carvalho during The FA Community Shield match between Manchester City against Liverpool at King Power Stadium, on 30th July , 2022 at Leicester, United Kingdom.

Pep Guardiola has refused to rule out Bernardo Silva leaving Manchester City before the close of the transfer window as the Manchester City manager revealed he will hold more talks over his own future at the club during the season.

Guardiola said City had yet to receive any offers for Bernardo but Barcelona are eager to sign the Portugal midfielder before the September 1 deadline.

The City manager insisted he “100 per cent” wants Bernardo to stay but remained uncertain about what will happen over the coming weeks and would not stand in the player’s way if he made it clear he wanted to leave.

“I have said many times I want players to be happy here and for us to try to do it together,” Guardiola said ahead of City’s Premier League opener against West Ham on Sunday. “I would love if Bernardo could continue here because he’s a special player for all of us in the locker room but I don’t know what is going to happen.

“What will happen is going to happen. If he stays, it is perfect. If in the end he has to leave it is because football is like this - the clubs have an agreement, the player has the desire and I will not be the reason to stop the desire.

“When you are a football player your life is so short. You don’t realise and immediately it is over. At the same time, I’m just a little part of the club. What the club decides is okay for me.”

City have already sold Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko this summer and Fernandinho has departed as a free agent.

But the prospect of such a key player as Bernardo going would be a bitter blow and doubtless force the club – who are still searching for a left back after pulling the plug on a move for Marc Cucurella – back into the transfer market for a replacement.

Guardiola currently has 20 senior players to call upon, including three goalkeepers, which is the smallest squad during his time as City manager.

Asked if he would need a replacement for Bernardo, who has three years left on his contract, Guardiola said: “Hopefully Bernardo stays and we don’t have this problem.

“If we have a lot of injuries maybe it [the small squad] will be a problem but hopefully that’s not going to happen. I like to work with not much players so they’re more involved. We have the academy and we showed in the last year always we have a small squad and survived well. We have the window in the winter, maybe we have to take something we cannot do right now. We’ll see.”

On Bernardo, Guardiola added: “I want Bernardo to stay – to replace and find players is difficult. I want 100 per cent for Bernardo to stay, but if you want to leave and have an offer and the clubs get an agreement, what I said is common sense. This is the reality. He is an important player for me, Bernardo is special but I don’t know what is going to happen. As far as I know, Manchester City didn’t get any offer [for him] – last season neither.

“I talk a lot with Bernardo and with all of them. Maybe because I’m getting old and we know each other quite well but now the relationship is completely different from three or four years ago.

“I’m more relaxed as a manager now because I know them better, the good moments and bad moments. I talk with them but not especially in this situation.

“If I had to tell him something I would and if he had to tell me something he would. I don’t have doubts about that but we didn’t talk about our situation. He’s our player, I know he’s happy. He’s engaged, he has a beautiful dog so he’s happy here and what is going to happen is going to happen.”

Guardiola is out of contract at the end of the season but said he would be happy to extend his deal if all the conditions were right and plans to hold further discussions with the club during the season.

“We spoke with the club. Middle of the season, end of the season, we will talk again about how we feel and decide what’s best for the club,” he said. “I said many times if they want it I’d like to stay longer but at the same time I have to be sure. It’s not the second or third season, it’s many years already and I have to see how the players behave.

“I don’t want to be a problem, sometimes when you extend things and you force it it’s not good so you have to go through it and relax and this kind of situation happens when it’s going to happen in a natural way.

“If you force it it’s not going well. We will see what happens during the season and how we feel and the best decision for the club is going to be taken.”

Guardiola believes this season will feel like two campaigns in one given the break for the World Cup in November and December and feels City can ill afford to drop too many points during the first few months.

“It’s like two Premier Leagues in one this season. There’s one Premier League before the World Cup. You cannot win it but you can lose it,” he said.

“Not just Liverpool but I have the feeling the other teams will not drop many points so that’s why we have to start well.

“I have the feeling our rivals will not drop much points but I also have the feeling since seeing us arrive back after a longer vacation than normal the guys are still there. That makes me feel we will be there.

“The relationships in the locker room and incredible focus in the sessions we are doing so far is really good. We’ll see how we react in the low moments in the season and how we behave but that’s our good as managers to life them when they’re in low moments.”

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