26-year-old Saul is keen to walk away from Atleti this summer and has no shortage of transfer suitors, with City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich all linked with the Spaniard.
His price tag, which sits at around £60m, could be a little problematic in a post-COVID world, but The Times claim Atletico have offered City the chance to avoid paying that fee and instead send Silva to the Wanda Metropolitano in exchange.
Silva, also 26, is known to be frustrated with his situation at City. He asked to leave last summer but saw his request knocked back, and his stance has not changed after he saw a reduction in his playing time this year.
The Portugal international managed just 24 Premier League starts during the 2020/21 season and has again made it clear to City that he would to move away from the club – so a straight-swap for Saul does make a lot of sense.
From this report, it’s not clear where City stand on the proposal, but Guardiola is keen on Saul and may have no choice but to sanction Silva’s departure. If the money balances out, this could be a bit of a no-brainer.
However, there’s even a hint that they could try and use Silva in a bid to sign 21-year-old Joao Felix instead. The young forward is also keen to leave Atleti after growing frustrated with Diego Simeone’s methods, and City are known admirers.
As far as Saul is concerned, it was recently claimed that he would prefer a move to the other side of Manchester, where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to make him one of several big-name signings for United.
He may not get that wish specifically, but Atletico are keen to respect his feelings and grant him his exit out of respect for his years of loyalty to the club.
“Saul is captain, he has been with the club for many seasons and therefore has earned the right to decide when and how to end his relationship with Atletico,” chief executive Miguel Angel Gil confirmed.