You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Manchester City don’t often fall victim this timeless proverb.
The Sheikh Mansour era has been defined by wise logistical decisions and shrewd moves in the transfer market, although the club’s officials were handed the ultimate reward for installing the right foundations when landing Pep Guardiola five years ago.
While great success had already been achieved before his arrival, the swashbuckling possession-based style of play Guardiola has implemented at City has taken the club to new, uncharted territory, namely bringing the Blues’ first Champions League final this term.
The wounds from the Estadio do Dragao are yet to heal, but reports suggest Guardiola will seek to rebuild his side this summer, aiming to radically transform his team in the transfer market, which could mean sanctioning departures for some of the club’s stars.
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Transfer rumours need to be taken with a degree of scepticism, but it’s surprising to see various outlets report that Guardiola would be open to selling Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez, although perhaps not as shocking as the reports linking Bernardo Silva with a move away.
Bernardo has returned to his very best this season and although his contribution on paper doesn’t reaffirm that statement, having scored five goals and provided nine assists in all competitions, his worth and value to this team exceed those numbers.
The 26-year-old’s versatility is a key asset to this City side, but more importantly, Siva is the team’s beating heart, he sets the tempo with his incredible worth-ethic and he’s often found at the forefront of the Blues’ high-press, tirelessly working to get the ball back.
So, where have reports linking Bernardo to Champions League clubs from Spain, France and Italy come from? City have established themselves as one of Europe’s finest clubs, they have earned their bargaining power, why would Bernardo want to leave now?
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“When he played, he’s played top. He’s a young guy, he’s a guy in the locker room who we are so happy to have him here. He’ll stay a long time, while I’m here he will not move on, he will stay with me,” Guardiola said three years ago when asked about Bernardo.
If there’s any truth in the rumours linking Bernardo with a move away from Manchester, Guardiola needs to remember why he made that promise to the Portuguese, because his loss to this City side would be substantial, especially if Fernandinho exits the club as well.
Fernandinho sets an example with his leadership, alongside Bernardo who maintains standards with his remarkable energy and pressing.
It’s not often City get it wrong in the transfer market, but if they allow Bernardo to leave for pastures new, it will be a mistake.