City hope for a transfer window Silva lining

Every Manchester City supporter is desperately hoping Bernardo Silva will still be at the Etihad when the summer transfer window closes.

The spectre of Barcelona continues to loom large, something which is as astonishing as it is abhorrent, considering the state of the so called Catalan ‘giants’ who’ve been exposed as a bunch of morally bankrupt cheats who remain €1.4billion in debt – give or take a few quid.

City fans are hoping Bernardo won’t be wearing a shirt bearing the badge of Barcelona when this summer’s transfer window closes.

If Barcelona even understood the meaning of a ‘moral compass’, theirs would be so skewed they’d be hard pressed to find their own backside in a telephone box.

It’s nothing short of grotesque that a club that has still to step back from the avarice and naked protectionism of the reviled ‘European Super League’, is still touting itself as a football powerhouse when it can’t, or won’t, pay its own players.

Should he stay or should he go? Frenkie de Jong’s Barcelona dilemma.

Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong – described as a ‘generational talent’ – when he moved from Ajax in 2019, is still owed £14m in deferred wages. He’s being made to feel as welcome as a fart in a space suit by a club that he has no desire to leave, despite his employer’s appalling behaviour. Can you imagine a worse fate in football than that of being strong armed into joining Manchester Dis-United?

To his credit de Jong isn’t having it. Barcelona are desperate to ship him out and get his wages off the books, and yet Laporta claims they want him to stay when their actions clearly betray his words.

By the same token, Laporta and his mates, are claiming irregularities and even illegalities in the contract given to de Jong and other Barcelona stars, under the regime of previous club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Bernardo gets a big thumbs up from every City fan. He’s universally adored by the Etihad faithful.

It reeks of deceit and desperation from a double-dealing hierarchy – a club devoid of honour and transparency. It must surely cast doubt on the integrity of the club’s financial records of the recent past and well beyond, but anyone who believes La Liga and UEFA are queuing up to investigate may as well be living in cloud cuckoo. Such ‘investigations’ by European football’s governing body are reserved for the likes of debt-free Manchester City, never UEFA’s old guard cartel!

Barcelona in its heyday with Laporta and Pep.

Not content with making de Jong’s life a living hell, they’ve insisted other players take pay cuts, players who were already owed wages deferred when the fiscal implications of Covid 19 hit hard. In some ways such measures can be justified. The pandemic knocked many a club sideways and backwards. The difference is Barcelona continue to do so whilst spending big money on Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Koundé  – players they’re having difficulty registering for 2022/23, with Barca are purported to be €150million over their La Liga wage cap.

And yet Laporta, continues to make overtures about signing Bernardo!

Devoid of integrity and any sense of honour – Joan Laporta shamelessly presides over Barcelona’s misplaced arrogance.

It’s been more than hinted at that City’s beloved Bernardo would like a change of lifestyle – a warmer climate, more akin to his native Portugal – after five years in not so sunny Manchester.

From a football perspective he doesn’t have any problems with City or Pep. By his own ‘admission’ he’s said he couldn’t be in a better place, especially nowadays when he’s one of the first names on the team sheet.

Loved by the fans for his on field play and commitment and adored for his off the pitch personality and sense of humour e.g. ‘Brewnado’ when he snubbed the guard of honour for Liverpool’s solitary Premier League title, as well as having John the French Bulldog – named after team mate John Stones – Silva would be a gargantuan loss to City.

Bernardo and John the French Bulldog, named after John Stones.

Guardiola is known to favour an approach of letting players leave if they no longer wish to stay at the Etihad, provided City get the appropriate transfer fee.

Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus were both in the last year of their City deals and weren’t prepared to sign new contracts. Banking a combined £100m in transfer fees made perfect sense.

Oleksandr Zinchenko wanted the move to Arsenal for regular first team action and the chance to play in his preferred midfield role. Given his versatility, age (25) and the fact he wasn’t in the final year of his contract, it was disappointing to see him go for just £32m.

The fighting spirit, indefatigable work rate and silky skills of Silva make him pure gold for City.

Yes, he’d been a bargain at £1.5m when acquired from Ufa in Russia in 2016, but maybe City could, and should, have had Arteta & Co coughing up something in the region of £40m+.

Fair to say Bernardo is ‘different gravy’ compared to his three former team mates.

He still has three years to run on his contract. At just 28 – it’s his birthday today – he’s coming off the back of his most productive season in terms of goals and assists, in his time at City. As brilliant as he is, it could easily be argued the best is yet to come.

City have always played fair with players who want to leave the club, but is it in danger of being too benevolent, to the point of being a soft touch?

Bernardo is a born winner and there’s plenty more still to come from City’s Portuguese maestro.

Bernardo proved to be a bargain at £43m when acquired from Monaco, but any potential sale – God forbid – can’t simply be measured in monetary terms. He’s truly world class. If you’re selecting a world’s best squad of 22, he’s right in there!

If he heads off to Barcelona – the club who it’s been revealed this week – sought to bribe UEFA and have City banned from the Champions League in 2020, the club who claim they are ‘Més que un club’ –more than a club – the outfit who are presently mortgaging the family silver (no pun intended) and indulging in a highly questionable game of fiscal smoke and mirrors, City must get top, top dollar.

Priceless, or if he isn’t that, City should be telling Barcelona Bernardo will cost them a minimum of £100m.

Notwithstanding the obvious City links with Barcelona, there cannot be even the slightest whiff of any old pals act! Pep called it right when UEFA attempted to ban City when he said: “Don’t talk too loud Barcelona, that’s my advice, because everybody is involved in situations.”

Remember when Philippe Coutinho went from Liverpool to the Nou Camp for a fabled £146m in 2018 (rumour has it Liverpool are now down to the last tenner) what price do City place on a player who’s immeasurably superior?

Pep has stated that he is 100% committed to wanting Bernardo to stay at City.

Times change and Barcelona are now paying for the profligacy of deals such as Coutinho, but what is Bernardo’s worth, his value, not just to Barcelona but more importantly to City?

Take a look around world football, who would come remotely close as an adequate replacement before September 1st?

It’s not enough for Pep Guardiola, Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano to want to do right by a truly wonderful human being and all round lovely guy. City hold all the aces – just as Spurs did last summer with Harry Kane – and the England skipper ended up staying in London.

When Barcelona bought Ferran Torres in January for a deal worth up to £55m many were surprised how the Catalan club financed the deal.

Football is a cut throat business and City’s triumvirate, along with Khaldoon Al Mubarak, shouldn’t be anything but resolute in dealings with Barcelona executives who clearly cannot be trusted. City aren’t there to prop up an arrogant and obnoxious regime, one that’s on record as stabbing the Blues between the shoulder blades on more than one occasion.

With its breathtaking architectural masterpieces courtesy of Antoni Gaudi, beautiful beach and balmy climate, the capital of Catalonia is an enchanting and alluring proposition, but any romanticism about FC Barcelona is horribly misplaced in the modern day.

Let’s hope Bernardo won’t be kissing goodbye to City this month.

Let’s hope any move for Bernardo doesn’t come to pass, he forgoes any pieces of dodgy Spanish silver and stays around for another Pep-led City gold rush.

Dedicated to the memory of Richard Cooper – a wonderful gentleman who passed away recently, just five months shy of his 80th birthday. He belied his years as he attended dozens of City games both home and away with his wife Val. I first met Richard in a tapas restaurant in Seville in November 2015, the day after Manuel Pellegrini’s City had beaten Sevilla 3-1 in the Champions League.

Incredibly knowledgeable about the club he loved, he would often add insight and wisdom to these RBNR blogs via his feedback. I always referred to him as ‘RC’ in our online exchanges and it was great to finally meet him in sunny Spain.

As City attempt to retain the Premier League title for an unprecedented third time in the club’s history, it won’t be the same without ‘RC’ along for the ride in the comments section.

RBNR sends its deepest condolences, sympathy and empathy to Val who will continue as a season card holder at the Etihad, albeit without Richard by her side.

It was a pleasure and a privilege – RIP RC

By David Walker @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu


  1. August 10, 2022  12:54 pm by Dave Leyland Reply

    Happy Birthday Bernardo. Please Don't Go.

  2. August 10, 2022  1:00 pm by Paul keys Reply

    I'd be gutted to see Bernard leave, every aspect of him is right for City from talent/work rate to personality. I really do hope he comes to the conclusion that the grass isn't greener elsewhere, as to value well he's at least Jack grealish and possibly even more and that needs to be in full especially from a dodgy club that could go bankrupt! City indeed hold the cards and shouldn't entertain any deal unless payment in full from dodgy barca I wouldn't buy a car from them if Arthur daly had the same one for sale let's say.
    And as to your dedication to "RC" I do love the respectful sentimental side to your writing and add my condolences to his family 😔

    • August 10, 2022  1:33 pm by David Walker Reply

      In total agreement with all your sentiments and thank you for your generous feedback.

  3. August 10, 2022  1:46 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Yet another fantastic article Dave well done mate. I love Bernardo he's one of our top players no doubt & I do hope he stays with us. I understand his loving of warmer weather Manchester is not & never will be a hot spot, I just wish he or the club would come out and say he's staying and put the rumours to bed once & for all. As for Barcelona well we're do you start with them I would never of believed Barcelona would turn into such a low down cheating club. How are they getting away with signing players and not paying players the money that is owed them. I believe and I'm not sure on this that they still owe us for Torres why hasn't UEFA come down on them or as you point out is that just City that they have a have a go at. They are cheating right left and centre even trying to cheat there own league they really disgust me and I never thought I would say that about Barcelona. One of my finest moments in football was watching them at the Etihad, what must Messi be thinking of his old club. I just want Pep and Barnardo to come out and say to Barcelona to go and do one your not getting Silva no matter how much you try.

    • August 10, 2022  2:13 pm by David Walker Reply

      Firstly thanks for your great feedback. Secondly Barcelona - irrespective of their history, fan base and global appeal (?) - is now a car crash of a club, an employer who doesn't pay its player on time, if at all. Barcelona is a beautiful city and a wonderful setting to call 'home' but at what price. Does Bernardo want to join a corrupt organisation, one that won't think twice about not paying him if they head into ever choppier waters? Like all City fans, I love Bernardo, but he has three years left on his contract and unless a club pays absolute mega bucks for his signature he should honour his deal. City have even offered him improved terms if he'll put aside his gripes about the weather. He's seemingly not motivated by greed but rather by a desire for a lifestyle change. Come 2025 he can go back to his beloved Benfica for free having secured his legacy at City. I have no axe to grind with him, he's a great guy and superb footballer, but this annual speculation about wanting warmer climes is becoming wearisome.

  4. August 10, 2022  1:53 pm by David Kelly Reply

    Barcelona should be investigated and told too do one corrupt tossers

    • August 10, 2022  2:04 pm by David Walker Reply

      I couldn't agree more - thanks Guv.

  5. August 10, 2022  2:22 pm by Malcolm Gruber Reply

    Great article as always David. UEFA should be investigating Barcelona for their right player contracts in the past and their exceeding the salary cap. But hey-ho, it would probably end with City being fined!

    • August 10, 2022  2:25 pm by David Walker Reply

      The irony of your comment is not lost on any City supporter who shares our loathing and total mistrust of UEFA and La Liga. Thanks MG.

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