Barcelona are eyeing another summer transfer revolution with five Manchester City players on their radar.
The Catalan giants are seven points clear at the top of La Liga and they are on course for their first league title in four years. That followed a summer of heavy investment which saw striker Robert Lewandowski lead a long line of big-name arrivals, including Jules Kounde and Raphinha.
This summer, Barca are hoping to bolster their squad further and are set to return to a familiar club, having signed Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Ferran Torres from Premier League champions City in recent seasons.
A report from Catalan-based Sport suggests that five members of City’s squad are being monitored by Barca, who are considering another overhaul of their squad. Boss Xavi believes that more arrivals are required if Barca are to become a true force on the European stage once more.
The club meekly exited the Champions League group stage with a full round of matches remaining after picking up just one point across four fixtures against Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, before losing their Europa League play-off against Manchester United in February.
It is claimed that Xavi is keen for Barca to follow up their long running interest in star City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. As outlined by reports in Spain, Barca have held a meeting with Ilhan Gundogan, the uncle and representative of the City midfielder.
The German international is said to be a key transfer target for the Catalan club this summer as they seek to replace the long-serving Sergio Busquets, who is out of contract this summer.
Gundogan has spent the past seven seasons at City and his uncle is said to have held a meeting last month with a Barca delegation including sporting director Mateu Alemany, Jordi Cruyff, Enric Masip and Franc Carb.
Barca are also monitoring the situations of Spain internationals Aymeric Laporte – who has started just six Premier League games this season – and holding-midfielder Rodri, who is viewed as a long-term successor to Busquets at club and international level.
The report has also linked the club to midfielder Bernardo Silva – who was monitored last transfer window in the event that Frenkie de Jong left the club – alongside striker Julian Alvarez, who joined City last summer but who has started just six league games for Pep Guardiola’s side.
However, big-name arrivals at the Camp Nou are unlikely without exits first. As reported in December by Sport, the Catalan club need to reduce their salary outgoings of €600million to €400m for next season in order to register new players and any new contracts.
The attacker was on the scoresheet in Man City’s 2-0 victory over Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon, meaning that he has now netted in his last two league appearances.
In total, Bernardo has represented Guardiola’s side on 37 occasions during the 2022-23 campaign, scoring four goals and registering five assists in the process.
The Portuguese still has another two years left to run on his current deal, placing Man City in a strong position when it comes to a potential sale at the end of the season.
Bernardo made the move to the Etihad Stadium from Monaco in July 2017, and he has made 288 appearances for the club, scoring 52 goals and contributing 56 assists during a successful spell.
“I’m very focused on this season and it doesn’t make sense to talk about leaving because we’re in the middle of the season. I won’t hide that my goal in the coming years, if something good happens elsewhere, will probably be to move to a new project,” Bernardo told Record earlier this year.
“Going into a new project at the age of 29, I’ll only finish this contract probably at 34. If you ask me: what did you think 10 years ago? My goal was to return to Benfica at the age of 32 at the most. What do I think today? It depends on what happens next summer.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s not something I don’t think about. I think about it every year. It has always been a goal.”
There is also ongoing speculation surrounding Ilkay Gundogan’s future at the Etihad Stadium, with the midfielder only having a deal until the end of the season.
Departures for both Bernardo and Gundogan would see Man City enter the market for replacements, with Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham and West Ham United’s Declan Rice believed to be targets.