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Guardiola praise France star as Bernardo Silva ‘perfect’ replacement, but it seems too late

Bernardo Silva's future at Manchester City appears to be in doubt, with Barcelona interested in the midfielder.

If this was to be the final goodbye, it was certainly a lovely one.

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Bernardo Silva’s future at Manchester City is becoming increasingly uncertain, but fans did everything they could to ensure he knows how much he is adored at the Etihad. Bernardo received a standing ovation when he came on in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Bournemouth. One that lasted several minutes and only increased when he approached the stands to take a corner or drink something.

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After the game, the Portuguese lingered on the field, giving his shirt to a young fan and applauding from every corner of the stadium. It’s difficult not to think that such emotional scenes were a final farewell in case he doesn’t take the job.

Bernardo wanted to leave last summer and that feeling appears to remain this year, despite enjoying such a remarkable season, as he wants to be nearer to his native Portugal. Barcelona are heavily interested in signing the midfielder as they look to splash the cash and rebuild their side despite their well-documented financial troubles.

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Despite the scenes on Saturday, the Catalonians are yet to make a bid and Bernardo’s teammates do expect him to remain at the Etihad this season. But, if he does depart, City will certainly need to find a replacement or risk going into the rest of the season light on options with just 19 senior players.

Finding a player capable of filling Bernardo’s shoes in the final couple of weeks of the window would be no easy task, especially when one player who is of a similar profile looks to be heading to Nottingham Forest. The Premier League new boys have approached the transfer window with the enthusiasm as a lottery winner in a yacht shop and gone big. They have signed a massive 15 players already this summer and are not done there.

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Forest are now attempting to add Houssem Aouar to their ever-expanding ranks in what would be the transfer shock of the window. Over the weekend, Sky Italia reported that Forest are closing in on the Frenchman after his move to Real Betis fell through.

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Aouar has long been linked with a move to the Premier League, but only to clubs like Manchester City and Arsenal, not to a team fighting for survival. The 24-year-old has been one of Ligue 1’s best players for years, appearing in over 200 games for Lyon with 40 goals and 35 assists, and has had several impressive performances in the Champions League.

The Blues have seen firsthand how good Aouar is, as he has faced them three times and has not lost once. The Frenchman was instrumental in Lyon’s 2-1 win and 2-2 draw against City in the group stages in 2018, and then provided two assists when Lyon shocked Guardiola’s side in the quarter-finals in 2020.

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