Manchester City are undergoing a rough patch with problems brewing both on and off the pitch for the Cityzens. The club were hit with a major blow as the Premier League charged the club with “numerous breaches of financial rules”. According to news outlets, there have been over 100 breaches made over a nine-year period by the Manchester club as they face severe punishments ranging from being relegated to the Championship to a 15 points deduction if found guilty by an independent commission appointed by the League to look into the matter.
These off-the-field problems have coincided with the recent 1-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur further derailing Pep and Co.’s title charge as they could find themselves 8 points behind league leaders Arsenal with just over 17 games to go. There have been numerous reports stating the dressing room fallouts Pep Guardiola has had to deal with as the first-team players are not happy with the game time they are getting which saw Joao Cancelo secure a surprising loan move to Bayern Munich in the final days of the January transfer window as the Portuguese fullbacks had fallen behind academy graduate Rico Lewis in the pecking order.
According to Le10 Sport, Cancelo’s national team colleague, Bernardo Silva, is already eyeing a move elsewhere in the summer with the midfielder “aspires to try a new challenge and his desire to join a new club has grown more than ever”. This is a huge blow for Pep Guardiola who has played down Silva’s exit in various press conferences as he views the Portugese midfielder to be an important part of the team and the club aren’t willing to let the player leave for a fee lesser than the 50 million euros they paid AS Monaco in 2016.
PSG and Barcelona are to go head to head for Bernardo
The Le10 Sport report also names the two clubs who are particularly interested in signing the midfielder in the summer with Paris Saint Germain and FC Barcelona both set to battle it out for the signature of the 28-year-old. Paris Saint Germain’s interest is mainly driven by Bernardo’s former AS Monaco teammate Kylian Mbappe and former AS Monaco Sporting Director Luis Campos who both see the midfielder as a “recruitment priority” in the summer.
The Parisians remained quiet throughout the January transfer window to comply with the FFP regulations having spent heavily in the summer and could open their chequebook this summer. A last-minute transfer collapse of signing Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech on loan meant the Parisians lack squad depth in the right-wing position where Silva played during his AS Monaco days.
FC Barcelona have been interested in the player since last summer but are reluctant to meet the 80 million euro price tag set by the Cityzens as they had their own financial troubles in registering players. This summer could see the club generate adequate income as they sit on top of La Liga and are heavy favourites to win the Europa League. Xavi’s been a huge admirer of the player and could play a huge role in convincing Bernardo to join the Catalan side.
What next for the Cityzens?
The club will have to enter into a legal battle and prove its innocence as they face a race against time. Pep Guardiola and the squad cannot afford to let such off-the-field distraction hamper their season ahead as they would want to be alive in the title race until the end of the season and continue to mount pressure on Arsenal.
Speaking about the investigations conducted on the club last season, Pep Guardiola communicated a stern message to the club saying, “When they are accused of something I ask them to tell me about that. They explain and I believe them. If you lie to me, the day after I am not here. I will be out and will not be your friend anymore. I put my faith in you because I believe you 100% from day one and I defend the club because of that.”
The outcome of the investigation by the Premier League will ultimately decide the club’s summer transfer window and whether or not they can keep hold of their first-team players and Pep at the helm in case of severe punishment.