Guardiola’s reply to Bernardo transfer question next to Barcelona chief | Football | Sport

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Pep Guardiola has admitted Bernardo Silva could well leave Manchester City this summer after being put on the spot by Barcelona president Joan Laporta. Although the City boss expressed hope that Bernardo would remain with the Premier League champions, he confessed he “doesn’t know” whether the Portuguese midfielder will head to the Nou Camp in the current transfer window amid interest from the La Liga giants.

Guardiola made the admission during a conference at the launch of charity friendly between City and his former club Barcelona, scheduled to take place on August 24. While there was plenty of discussion surrounding the match, Bernardo’s future proved to be the hot topic after Laporta seemingly confirmed Barcelona’s interest in the City midfielder.

After Guardiola vowed to bring all of City’s star-studded squad to the Nou Camp for the contest created in order to raise money for ALS research, Laporta intriguingly then quizzed the Spaniard over whether Bernardo would be among the travelling party. In response, the City boss laughed before replying: “Bernardo Silva, and ten more!”

In the question-and-answer session which followed, Guardiola was then further probed over the Portugal international’s future. Asked directly whether Bernardo could join rumoured suitors Barcelona this summer, the Spaniard admitted he couldn’t be sure if the 27-year-old would still be at City come the start of next season, before reaffirming his stance that he wouldn’t stand in a player’s way should they wish to move on.

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“Two clubs like Barcelona and Manchester City, the names are varied, there’s a lot of them,” he said. “Right now, I think Bernardo will continue with us. Our goal, as a club, is for him to stay with us.

“But I have always said I don’t want players that don’t want to be with us. But Bernardo is important and I think he will stay. It’s true he could be with Barca, I don’t know what will happen.”

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Bernardo previously expressed his desire to leave City last summer, citing a longing to be closer to his family as the reason for such a stance, after feeling “lonely” and “unhappy”. However, after talks with the City, the midfielder opted to remain in Manchester and subsequently went on to enjoy yet another stellar season on the pitch.

A potential departure for Bernardo to Barcelona this summer could well rest on the transfer activity of City’s rivals Manchester United. The Red Devils are understood to be £10million short of Barcelona’s £75m asking price for Frenkie de Jong, and a failure to raise significant funds from the sale of the Dutchman is likely to scupper the cash-strapped Catalan club’s plans to bag Bernardo.

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