Manchester City are determined to prevent any attempts by Real Madrid to lure David Silva back to Spain this summer by reportedly demanding £80 million for the playmaker.
The Spanish champions are eager to improve despite dethroning Barcelona courtesy of an almost improbable 100-point haul and midfield is believed to be one of the areas that they are keenest to strengthen in.
There has been much speculation in recent weeks about them holding discussions with Tottenham over the transfer of their unsettled star Luka Modric, however it has since been claimed that Silva is their first choice in the position.
The 26-year-old was integral to Roberto Mancini’s side’s Premier League triumph and at the halfway point was widely expected to be named PFA player of the year, only for fatigue to set in at the close of the campaign and lessen his impact.
Regardless, the former Valencia midfielder remains one of their most important performers as they target a more substantial Champions League challenge next season and they realise that losing him would severely compromise their chances.
That alleged £80 million valuation reflects the fact that, owing to the great wealth and ambition of their owners, they are under no pressure whatsoever to sell.
And like another key man who was linked with a move from the Etihad Stadium to the Bernabeu earlier this year, the club’s top scorer Sergio Aguero, it is thought that Silva is happy in England and won’t push for a return to La Liga.
Last term’s desperately disappointing group-stage exit, albeit from a difficult group, and Mancini’s lack of prior success in the Champions League hasn’t stopped them being rated third favourites to win the competition at 5/1.
That price puts them some way clear of more experienced neighbours Manchester United (7/1) and 2011/12 finalists Chelsea (10/1) and Bayern Munich (14/1), with just Spanish giants Barcelona (5/2) and Real Madrid (7/2) ahead of them.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.