• benpitkeathlyjourn

Unrest in the Manchester City squad, with three players hoping for a move away from the club

Manchester City have proved the key to challenging in all four competitions is quality squad depth, something City can boast in abundance.

City may have been criticised for their spending and buying "back-ups", but realistically the strategy has been a successful one, with the Blues consistently winning silverware.

However, a large squad depth comes with one main problem: it's almost impossible to keep each squad member satisfied.

Speaking to the media before the Community Shield Final, Pep Guardiola alluded to Bernardo Silva and two others vying for a move away from Manchester City.

Guardiola had this to say:

"Bernardo Silva wants to leave."
"There are two or three players who want to go."
"When they bring some offers, and they want to leave, we are open to discuss… but it depends on them."

It's no surprise that Bernardo Silva wants to leave the club, as the popular midfielder has signaled his intention to return to sunnier climes.

Silva joined Manchester City from Monaco in 2017 for a fee of around £45 million after impressing in a Champions League Round of 16 tie the previous season.

The Portuguese international made 53 appearances in his first season, scoring nine goals and assisting 11 times as City marauded their way to a 100-point title win.

Silva's contribution to City retaining their title in the 2018/19 season was vital. He made 51 appearances, scoring 13 times and assisting 14 goals, but it was his performance at home to Liverpool which helped turn the tide in the title race.

Bernardo showed unparalleled energy and athleticism on what was one of the Etihad Stadium’s greatest nights.

The high standards expected by Pep Guardiola to compete on every level started to take their toll on Bernardo Silva. Initially brought in as a silky playmaker, Silva had been turned into a midfield workhorse, or sometimes covering the right flank.

Silva was evidently exhausted and struggled to match his form of the previous season as Liverpool ran away with the Premier League title the following season.

City retained the title last season, but Silva's contribution was becoming less and less, with rumours emerging that he was unsettled in Manchester.

Speculation has increased this summer, with Bernardo heavily linked to Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and surprisingly Arsenal, although it seems Silva does not want to stay in England.

Silva is an immensely popular figure amongst Manchester City, and it was originally thought that he'd stay to become a cult hero, but that no longer seems possible.

Jack Gaughan, Northern football writer for the Daily Mail, suggests the other two players wanting to move on are Gabriel Jesus and Aymeric Laporte.

Jesus has never fulfilled the potential he displayed as he burst into the City first-team squad after a move from Palmeiras in January 2017. He scored seven goals in his first 11 games and followed that up the following season scoring 17 in 42.

The Brazilian striker’s best season so far came in the 2019/20 season, scoring 23 goals in 53 games and contributing 14 assists.

Some of his best performances have come in the Champions League, with the two legs against Real Madrid in 2020 a prime example.

Statistically, Jesus is quite impressive, but 63 big chances missed in the Premier League haunts the Brazillian. Jesus' ability to execute the high press to perfection goes unnoticed by many, and his work rate is impressive, but many now believe he is not the man to follow Sergio Agüero.

Jesus is linked with a move to Inter Milan to replace Romelu Lukaku, who's expected to join Chelsea this summer. However, Internazionale are cash strapped and possibly on the brink of financial collapse.

Another factor is whether City can secure the signing of Harry Kane this summer, with the England Captain expected to become the first-choice striker at Manchester City. If Jesus was to stay then he'd probably be back up, which isn't a role the talented striker wants at this stage in his career.

Aymeric Laporte is one player City will desperately want to hold onto if possible. The calm and cultured defender was consigned to a lesser role last season after being upstaged by the partnership of John Stones and Ruben Dias.

Laporte joined City in 2018 and has impressed since his move from Athletic Bilbao, earning a place in the 2018/19 PFA Team of the Season. Before last season it was widely accepted that Laporte was one of the best central defenders in the Premier League.

Injuries have had a huge impact on Laporte's City Career, with a knee injury in 2019 keeping him out for the majority of the 2019/20 season. City evidently struggled without him, with a lack of cover in central defence.

City do not want to risk a similar occurrence of the 2019/20 season and hope Laporte changes his mind.

Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have shown interest in signing the Spanish international along with Juventus, but financial problems in La Liga all but rule out a move back to Spain.

Manchester City want to become more financially balanced, so the sales of fringe and unhappy players will not be prohibited, especially if they want to fund a move for Harry Kane.