Bernardo Silva rejected a transfer to Arsenal this summer as the midfielder wants to move away from the Premier League if he leaves Manchester City, according to The Times.
Silva is one of a handful of players the Premier League title-holders are open to selling as they look to raise funds to increase their offer for Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane. The Citizens would also consider parting with Spain defender Aymeric Laporte.
Pep Guardiola admitted in the weeks leading up to the new campaign that he could not guarantee Silva would stay. The 27-year-old trained with the Manchester City first-team throughout the summer, but did not feature in their curtain-raiser against Tottenham.
Arsenal expressed their interest in signing Silva from Manchester City earlier in the window but failed in their pursuit. The £150,000-per-week Portuguese wants to leave England if his future is not at the Etihad Stadium, with Spain an option.
Atletico Madrid would also like to sign Silva, while Barcelona have discussed possible swap deals with the Citizens. However, Guardiola’s side only want a straight cash sale, which the Camp Nou club cannot afford. President Joan Laporta confirmed Barca are £1.1bn in debt.
Journalist Filipe Dias previously claimed Silva rejected joining Arsenal from Manchester City this summer. The reporter added the 59-cap international does want to leave the Etihad, where he has been since 2017.
While The Times reported in June that Silva is unsettled at the Citizens and requested permission to leave last summer. They now add he reached a gentleman’s agreement with Manchester City in 2020 to be allowed to leave in the event of a suitable offer arriving.
Arsenal’s Silva pursuit over given Manchester City star’s Premier League stance?
Arsenal’s pursuit likely ended when Silva rejected their interest, given the Manchester City star’s stance on staying in England. Yet Mikel Arteta had a wealth of alternative playmakers up his sleeve. With the Gunners pursuing the likes of James Maddison and Houssem Aouar.
Arteta would no doubt have liked to unite with Silva at Arsenal after working with him at Manchester City. Knowing the Citizens’ £43m signing is a menace in possession, capable of splitting defences with his passes and runs.
Guardiola was also effusive with praise in February after scoring a clinical header against Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League. He told ManCity.com: “The goal was fantastic, the way he finished it. He has this special quality.”