Man City set for Bernardo Silva talks to finalise midfield transfer plan

Bernardo Silva of Portugal during the UEFA Nations League League A Group 2 match between Portugal and Spain at Estadio Municipal de Braga on September 27, 2022 in Braga, Portugal.

Manchester City will sit down with Bernardo Silva to discuss his future before they finalise plans for strengthening their midfield next summer.

City are open to seeing the Portugal star extend his stay at the Etihad, but cannot ignore the fact that he has been open to leaving for the last two years. 

Barcelona conducted a very public pursuit of the star this year and – despite never actually bidding for him – have made noises about trying again for a player who will have two years remaining on his deal at the Etihad next summer but would still command a sizeable sum given his importance to the Premier League champions.

Kevin De Bruyne has pledged to see his contract until 2025 out, yet Ilkay Gundogan is also into the final nine months of his contract after frustration at his role in the team last year. City are keen to ascertain how real the scenario is that Pep Guardiola could see two of his top three No.8s leave at the end of the season.

Such significant departures would not daunt the club as much as it may once have done, given they lost six first team players this summer and look to have improved the squad while turning a healthy profit. 

But they are keen to crack on in the market as soon as possible, having taken such pleasure from lining up Erling Haaland in October 2021 before effectively sealing a transfer two months before the 2022 window officially opened.

Jude Bellingham already looks to be the midfielder every top club wants next summer, with Liverpool among those hoping to sign the Dortmund youngster who impressed again when he played City in the Champions League. 

Having sold Jadon Sancho last year and Haaland in the most recent summer window, Dortmund can expect a huge sum for Bellingham next year.

City are among the teenager’s many admirers and have the money for such a purchase, while they are also not short on players to help the deal along; there are five Blues in the England squad with Bellingham while he also still speaks to Haaland and new City defender Manuel Akanji. 

But while the 19-year-old ticks every box of the player profile the club look for, there is no indication yet that they are ready to commit to joining the race.

City rarely get involved in such battles with other clubs for players and have had tremendous success in the market buying targets who have been overlooked by most others. 

As well as other targets in the market, there are also options already at the club to strengthen City’s midfield who could be turned to depending on what the club work out is needed after speaking to Bernardo.

Phil Foden, whose new long-term contract at the club is a matter of when rather than if it will be announced, has long been expected to move back towards the central role he first caught Guardiola’s eye in when playing for the academy. 

There is also confidence within the club that 20-year-old James McAtee can break the mould and return from loan – he is out at Sheffield United for this season – to become part of the first team set-up in future.

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