Saudi Arabia has become a football mecca as teams from the Saudi Pro League have been making big moves in the summer transfer window, and wantaway Man City star Bernardo Silva is the latest target for a mouth-watering deal.
Manchester City will have to stave off mega-money interest from Saudi Arabia if they are to hang on to Bernardo Silva this summer.
The treble-winner has been linked with a move away after winning the Champions League, with Barcelona remaining in the conversation.
That is a move the Portuguese star has hoped to make in previous summers, without it coming to fruition. However, Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal now appears primed to blow any other bidders out of contention.
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Bernardo’s Portugal team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo is already playing in the Saudi Pro League, while Ruben Neves is close to making a switch of his own.
With a reported £75m-per-year on the table, the reigning Premier League champion Manchester City will have a decision to make.
Al Hilal have the budget to offer Bernardo upwards of £75m per season if they so desire. This would come on top of a hefty transfer fee, with Pep Guardiola’s side holding out for £70m to let one of their most important players depart.
The 28-year-old has also been linked with a Paris Saint-Germain move as he prepares to potentially leave England. Barcelona’s interest, meanwhile, will depend on their financial situation.
Barca because of their precarious financial situation will need to sell before they can buy. They are ready to welcome Ilkay Gundogan on a free transfer, but signings for a fee, particularly a big fee is much more of a challenge.
Al Hilal finished third in the Saudi Pro League last season, with a transfer ban preventing them from making new additions, as Riyadh rivals Al Nassr landed Ronaldo.
This ban has now been lifted, though, and they’re attempting to make major moves ahead of the new season, following fresh backing from the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF).
Ruben Neves will be their first signing, with a £47m move agreed. They also attempted to land Lionel Messi, only for the World Cup winner to opt for a move to Inter Miami.
Al Hilal are also without a manager, and reports suggest they are prepared to also raid the Premier League in that department.
Reports in the media suggest that Fulham boss Marco Silva has received a lucrative proposal from the club as he prepares to enter the final year of his contract at Craven Cottage.
If Bernardo Silva does join Al Hilal, it would be just the latest deal in what looks like a busy summer for Manchester City.
The departure of captain Gundogan has already left them primed to make further signings, and this could add to that requirement.
One man who is on his way to the Etihad Stadium is Mateo Kovacic, with the Chelsea midfielder on the verge of completing a move worth £25m plus add-ons.
Manchester City also remains in the hunt for Declan Rice, and are prepared to rival Arsenal for the £100m-rated England midfielder.