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Manchester City 'handed major boost as Barcelona switch top transfer target'

:Headline: Manchester City 'handed major boost as Barcelona switch top transfer target':
Manchester City reportedly receive a boost in their efforts to keep Bernardo Silva as Barcelona switch their attention to Paris Saint-Germain's Xavi Simons.
Sports Mole

Manchester City have reportedly been handed a major boost in their efforts to keep one of their fundamental cogs at the club during the summer transfer window.

For the past couple of years, Bernardo Silva's desire to leave the Etihad and move closer to his native Portugal has been no secret, but he has remained loyal to the Premier League champions for seven years now.

The 29-year-old even signed a new contract with the Citizens last year to run until the summer of 2026, and he has contributed 11 goals and eight assists from 46 matches in all tournaments this season.

However, Silva has still been persistently linked with a departure from the treble winners, and Barcelona boss Xavi has supposedly pleaded with the 2022-23 La Liga champions to make a move this summer.

La Blaugrana are believed to be involved in a five-way tussle for Silva's signature, a list that also includes Real Madrid, but according to Sport, the Catalonian have instead turned their attention to another prolific European playmaker.

Barcelona to prioritise Xavi Simons move over Silva?

Rather than pursuing a move for Silva, the report claims that Xavi Simons - making waves on loan at RB Leipzig from Paris Saint-Germain - is their new number one target for a creative midfielder.

The Netherlands international failed to make the grade during his first spell at PSG and joined PSV Eindhoven on a free transfer in 2022, but he truly made a name for himself back in his homeland.

After amassing 22 goals and 12 assists in 48 matches in all tournaments, Simons rejoined PSG - who paid just €4m (£3.4m) courtesy of a buyback clause - but there was no room for him in Luis Enrique's ranks for the current season.

Instead, the 21-year-old was shipped out on loan to German giants RB Leipzig, where he has continued to go from strength to strength with nine goals and 15 assists from 42 matches in all tournaments this season.

Simons will be heading back to Paris this summer, as his loan agreement with Leipzig does not include an option or obligation to make permanent, but his long-term future in the French capital remains unclear.

Barcelona 'confident of Simons signing'

The Dutchman's deal with the Ligue 1 champions runs until 2027, but he is apparently not keen to advance his career in Paris, and Barcelona are confident about their chances of signing him if he tries to force an exit from PSG this summer.

Simons's ability to play in a multitude of positions across the frontline supposedly makes him the desired candidate over Silva, whose dreams of donning the Blaugrana strip will seemingly remain unfulfilled for now.

Silva would reportedly be available for around €60m (£51.6m), but Barcelona are not desperate to sign a player of his profile and are instead hoping to bring in a new number six and left-winger.

In addition, Barca do not want to risk any hindrance on the development of Lamine Yamal, who like Silva favours the right-wing position and is seen as one of the few untouchables at Camp Nou. body check tags ::

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