Manchester City are reportedly after a mammoth £80m to sanction the sale of Bernardo Silva in the summer transfer window.
The Portuguese playmaker’s future has been shrouded in uncertainty since Pep Guardiola admitted that he was pining for an exit from the Etihad Stadium last summer.
Silva ultimately stayed put in Manchester to win his fourth Premier League title in sky blue, but speculation surrounding a move away has begun to resurface.
Barcelona continue to be strongly linked with a move for the 28-year-old, who still has three years left to run on his contract at the Etihad Stadium.
However, Man City are doing their best to price the Catalan giants out of a deal amid the Blaugrana’s long-standing financial problems, which have not prevented them from signing Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski and Jules Kounde, though.
According to The Mirror, Man City are demanding at least £80m to part ways with the former Monaco man after Barcelona initially thought that a £60m bid would suffice.
The report claims that Man City ‘ridiculed’ Barcelona’s claims of a £60m offer being enough, and the Premier League champions have not even been contacted by Xavi‘s side over a move yet.
Silva is represented by Jorge Mendes, and the Portugal international’s agent is not reported to have informed Man City of his client’s desire to leave the club either.
Furthermore, City are unlikely to sanction Silva’s exit unless they can find a last-minute replacement, and club chiefs are not expected to pursue a new playmaker in the coming weeks either way.
During his five years in Manchester, Silva has registered 48 goals and 50 assists in 253 appearances for Guardiola’s side but was named on the bench against West Ham United and Bournemouth earlier this month.
Silva spoke to ESPN last month about his future, and while the midfielder claimed that he would be “very happy” to stay at Man City, he refused to rule out a summer move elsewhere.
“I’ve always said that I’m happy here but I have no idea what’s going to happen. We’ll see, honestly. My relationship with the club is very honest. I’ve been open with them and they know what I want,” Silva said.
“If I stay, I’m very happy and I will always respect this club and give all my best. If not, it’s football and we’ll just see what happens. It’s a big club and they don’t want players who are not happy at the club.
“They always say to all of us that if you’re not happy, you can go. Of course, they are in business and they want the right amount of money for letting us go but personally, it’s a relationship with the club that is very respectful.
“They have always been honest with me and I have always been honest with them. As I said, I will always respect my relationship with Man City, with the fans, with the staff, with my teammates so whatever happens, happens and it for sure will happen in a very respectful way.”
Man City will travel to face Silva’s admirers Barcelona in a charity game on Wednesday August 24, and the expectation is that the 28-year-old will form part of the travelling group for the trip to Camp Nou.