Analysis: Why Bernardo Silva won’t sign for Barcelona

Xavi Hernandez’s fever dream of signing Bernardo Silva did not come off in the summer, despite the insistence of various outlets that Barcelona were doing all they could to make it happen.

The Portuguese star was the final jewel in the crown for Xavi, as Barcelona revamped their squad this summer in order to become competitive again in La Liga and the Champions League.

It looked as if any deal hinged upon the sale of Frenkie de Jong for a significant fee. The Dutchman was steadfast in the face of efforts to force him out and as it was, no deal occurred, despite Silva’s wishes.

Speculation about Silva has continued onwards, with his deal expiring in 2025. As per Todofichajes, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has asked the club to renew Silva’s deal, after extending his own contract. Silva is also keen for clarity on the matter, despite Barcelona’s continued interest.

It seems increasingly less likely that Barcelona will be able to do a deal though. Financially, they are no closer to finding the money for any deal, likely in excess of €80m, unless de Jong has a sudden change of heart.

In addition, currently Barcelona find themselves unable to sign any players this January, as per President Joan Laporta. Barcelona are currently trying to negotiate a relaxation of the salary limit rules alongside other clubs.

While the Blaugrana sold €667m of assets during the summer in order to fit into those salary limits, Barcelona will likely be operating outwith their limits again this summer. With no sign of further asset sales, they would be subject to the 1:4 rule again, meaning they can only reinvest 25% of any savings they make, which would prohibit major investments.

The financial reasons combine with the on the pitch situation. It has become apparent during the first section of the season that right-back is the priority position for any funds available. Xavi has been unable to rely on solid play at the position from either of Sergi Roberto or Hector Bellerin this season.

The midfield is also one of the positions Barcelona are well-stocked in, particularly if de Jong and Sergio Busquets remain at the club. Pedri is a now fixture and alongside those other two options, Gavi is making a strong push for a starting spot. His form with Spain and Barcelona suggests he is more than ready to compete at the highest level.

Xavi can push for Silva too, but his word might not hold as much power as it did in the summer. He was given most of the resources he asked for in the summer by the Barcelona board, and still the Blaugrana failed to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages, a minimum objective for the season. Xavi had the total faith of both the fans and the board in the summer, but seeing their struggles in Europe, Barcelona’s technical team may be less likely to indulge his wishes at great expense.

Overall, there are a variety of reasons why the transfer is unlikely. The number of moving parts that would have to fall into place for any deal to be agreed, in addition to upsetting several of their current assets.

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