Chelsea open talks for €80m-rated Monaco star with City, United, Barcelona & Real Madrid keen

Monaco's Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva (L) celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on January 29, 2017.  / AFP / FRANCK FIFE        (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

ANOTHER Monaco star linked with Manchester City? You bet.

Today’s is a slightly more tenuous link, with City one of several clubs to ‘express interest’ in 22-year-old Monaco attacking midfielder, Bernardo Silva, according to Duncan Castles of the Sunday Times.

Of all Monaco’s exciting young talent, Bernardo Silva may be the most sought-after, and Chelsea have taken early steps to fend off rival interest from City, United, Barcelona and Real Madrid by opening talks for the versatile attacker.

Monaco hope to start a bidding war for Silva and earn a minimum of €80 million (£68.4 million) when he is, as expected, sold in the summer. The current Premier League leaders have advanced their interest by initiating discussions with Monaco chiefs over a player Antonio Conte believes could help them challenge for next season’s Champions League.

It would become much more complicated for Chelsea if City and United entered the bidding, though, while Real Madrid and Barça may yet make their presence felt as they look to rejuvenate their squads.

Though attack-minded midfielders don’t seem to be a priority for Pep Guardiola, with Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sané, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva all on the books, Bernardo’s versatility and ability to play left, right or as a number 10, could appeal to the City boss. With Jesus Navas certain to leave and Nolito falling out of favour, it isn’t too unrealistic to think that at least one attacking midfielder might arrive in the summer.

Long-term, Bernardo Silva could also be seen as an ideal successor for his 31-year-old namesake, David Silva, but of the many Monaco stars linked, Bernardo may be the least likely City will enter an auction for with other positions needing work in the squad.

Even so, he would be a very exciting acquisition and Pep is known for stockpiling midfielders at his clubs, so this could be one to keep an eye on in the coming months…

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