´Bernardo likes Barcelona very much´, but late-window move ´a problem´ for Pep

    Pep Guardiola has not ruled out the possibility of Bernardo Silva joining Barcelona – a club he “likes very much” – but acknowledged a deal would be tricky at this stage of the transfer window.

    Silva remains a key man for Guardiola’s Manchester City, excelling and scoring the equaliser in Sunday’s 3-3 draw at Newcastle United, yet he also continues to be linked to Barca.

    The Blaugrana have invested heavily in this window, with Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde among their eye-catching signings.

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    However, Barca coach Xavi is said to still be eager to add to his squad, with Silva seen as a potentially key capture.

    City visited Camp Nou on Wednesday for a friendly – another 3-3 draw – and both Xavi and Guardiola were predictably asked to discuss Silva after the match.

    “Who does not like Bernardo Silva? Just like De Bruyne or Haaland,” Xavi said. “But there is no news.

    “He is a player that I love – there are few like him – but it already depends on City.”

    Those comments offered Guardiola the opportunity to have a definitive say on Silva’s future, but he repeated his mantra that he would only wish to keep happy players at City.

    And Silva, the City manager added, would certainly be receptive to Barca.

    “We count on him and I do not want him to leave,” Guardiola said. “He is a superlative player in everything [he does].

    “But as I have always said: I do not want a player to be unhappy. If a good offer came, he wanted to leave and there was an agreement, we would see.

    “Although, if he left now, it would be a problem, because the market is about to close.

    “With that said, Bernardo likes Barcelona very much.”

    The window will close next Thursday, with City’s incoming business seemingly done after adding Erling Haaland, Stefan Ortega, Kalvin Phillips and Sergio Gomez to Guardiola’s squad, along with Julian Alvarez, who was signed in January.

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