City splash €50m on Monaco ace Silva
Manchester City issued a clear statement of intent in the transfer market yesterday as Pep Guardiola's planned revolution at the Etihad Stadium kicked off with the €50m signing of Bernardo Silva from Monaco.
Silva (22) signed a long-term contract after passing his medical in what is expected to be the first of at least six new arrivals at the club.
Left-back Benjamin Mendy, Silva's team-mate at Monaco, and Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker are also in Guardiola's sights, in addition to Juventus centre-half Leonardo Bonucci and Arsenal's Alexis Sánchez.
Guardiola is also chasing a new goalkeeper to provide competition for Claudio Bravo, with Leicester City's Kasper Schmeichel, Ederson Moraes of Benfica, and Gianluigi Donnarumma at AC Milan all being mentioned.
City are understood to have paid a flat fee with no add-ons for Silva, who was instrumental in Monaco's march to the Ligue 1 title this season as well as their progress to the Champions League semi-finals, which involved eliminating City in an enthralling round-of-16 tie.
Silva, who will wear the No 20 shirt next season, attracted interest from a host of leading European clubs but claimed the opportunity to work with Guardiola was too good to turn down.
As well as providing an immediate injection of quality, the Portuguese is regarded as a natural long-term successor to David Silva, who is now 31.
Bernardo Silva, who earned rave reviews from Guardiola for his performances in City's last-16 meeting with Monaco, claimed 10 goals and 10 assists in 51 appearances for the French club this season.
Guardiola will be looking to his new signing to help the team retain possession better in the final third and provide a more cutting edge in attack.
Guardiola has wasted little time clearing the decks this week in anticipation of the club's biggest summer overhaul since their Abu Dhabi owners' takeover in 2008.
Goalkeeper Willy Caballero, full-backs Pablo Zabaleta, Gaël Clichy and Bacary Sagna and winger Jesus Navas were all released, with up to nine others likely to be offloaded, as Guardiola prepares the way for new blood.
The City manager is thought to be optimistic about also signing Mendy from Monaco. However, the French champions are trying to tie the 22-year-old France left-back to a new long-term contract, while he is also attracting interest from Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Juventus left-back Alex Sandro has been Guardiola's long-standing first choice to fill that spot but City also want to sign Bonucci and will do well to get one, let alone both players out of the Turin club.
City are leading the race to sign the £35m-rated Walker from Spurs and have the advantage of being close to the England defender's native Sheffield.
Arsenal are desperate to keep hold of Sánchez and City face intense competition from Bayern Munich, Paris St-Germain and Chelsea for the £50m-rated Chile forward, who has a year left on his contract.
Veteran Real Madrid defender Pepe has been linked with City but the club have distanced themselves from signing the 34-year-old.
City spent in excess of £172m last summer and it is not unreasonable to think their gross spending could surpass £200m this time around.
Yet City remain optimistic about recouping a substantial sum in sales. Joe Hart, Samir Nasri, Eliaquim Mangala and Wilfried Bony are all available after being loaned out last season, while they will listen to offers for Fernando, Nolito and Kelechi Iheanacho.
(© Daily Telegraph, London)