Speaking to the press in the build-up to the Community Shield showdown against Arsenal, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has opened up on the uncertain futures of Bernardo Silva and Kyle Walker.
Last season’s treble winners will play Premier League runners-up Arsenal in a 2023/24 curtain-raiser at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, seeking their first Community Shield triumph since 2019.
However, Guardiola has to deal with several off-field issues, with Silva and Walker heavily linked with the summer departures from the Etihad Stadium.
While the Portuguese forward has drawn interest from Paris Saint-Germain and several Saudi Pro League clubs, the English defender has emerged among Bayern Munich’s top targets.
After severing ties with Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez this summer, Guardiola is unprepared to lose two additional first-team stalwarts, insisting he hopes to keep them at the club.
But despite reiterating his ambition to have Silva and Walker stay, the ex-Bayern manager couldn’t rule out the possibility of letting them go.
“Regarding Kyle and Bernardo, they’re important players for us,” the Man City boss said, as quoted by the Premier League website.
“We want them to stay. We will do everything. It’s not like ‘Gundo,’ where his contract is finished. We will do everything. To replace these two players is so, so difficult.
“We lost two incredible players for us, Ilkay and Riyad. In the last seasons [they] were massively important, incredible, goals and assists, and personalities in the biggest stages and big and important games.
“To lose Kyle and Bernardo will be so difficult. That’s why we are going to do everything to keep them.”
Both players were essential to Man City’s historic treble-winning campaign last season.
Alongside Kevin De Bruyne, Silva pulled all the strings in Guardiola’s well-oiled attacking machine.
His first-half brace against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals laid the foundation for the club’s maiden European success.
As for Walker, his tactical awareness and intimidating presence at the back have made him critical to City’s defensive set-up in the past few years.
It’s no surprise that the Cityzens are adamant they want both senior first-team stars on their payroll next term.
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