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Report: Euro giants eye Barcelona template to sign Man City star Guardiola calls ‘incredible’

Atletico Madrid have offered Man City the chance to sign Saul Niguez in exchange for Bernardo Silva, per The Times.

The La Liga champions have proposed a swap deal involving the two midfielders, as each want to leave their current club. Silva has grown unsettled at the Etihad Stadium after seeing a reduction in his game time under Pep Guardiola.

It was the first time in four seasons that Silva faced less action than in the previous campaign. He only started 24 of Man City’s Premier League fixtures, three FA Cup ties and one EFL Cup encounter. Despite the Portuguese remaining instrumental in the Champions League.

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The 26-year-old’s situation has failed to convince him that his long-term future is with the Citizens after handing in a transfer request last year. He remains determined to further his career abroad and expects to leave England this summer.

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Silva had told the club he wanted to leave three years after joining for €75m (£64.5m), after being left angered when handed a suspension by the FA for a social media post.

Atletico have proposed a swap deal involving Saul, as the deals would strengthen both in terms of Financial Fair Play. The La Liga champions value the Spaniard at €70m (£60m) and have confirmed he can leave this summer.

Like Silva, Saul is unsettled in Madrid after playing a lesser role in Diego Simeone’s plans last term. The 26-year-old opened just 22 of his 33 La Liga appearances and has failed to regain a place in the Spanish national side since 2019.

TBR’s view: Man City should explore swapping Silva for Saul

With Silva unsettled at the Etihad and Atleti putting Saul forward, Man City should explore the deal this summer. Silva has clearly been considering his future for a while and may continue pushing for a move in the future.

Guardiola is still a fan of the Portuguese despite his lesser role. He praised Silva for an ‘incredible’ display (BBC) against Aston Villa in January. Guardiola also claimed ‘everything he does, he does incredibly well’ after dominating Everton in February (

But the Citizens boss is also an admirer of Saul. He responded to ESPN’s claims of targeting the Spaniard in 2019 by lauding the ‘exceptional’ (BeIN Sports) midfielder. Man City now have the chance to unite the pair at the Etihad while moving on an unhappy player.

Atleti’s offer of a swap deal will also see the clubs follow Barcelona and Juventus’ method to avoid FFP issues (BBC). The Spanish giants signed Miralem Pjanic for an initial €60m (£55m) last year, while sending Arthur Melo in the opposite direction €72m (£66m) plus add-ons.

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