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Al Hilal have informed Manchester City that they are ready to pay €70 million for the services of Bernardo Silva, according to CBS Sports sources, as Saudi clubs continue their pursuit of some of Europe’s brightest talents. The Riyadh giants want to pair the Portuguese playmaker with his compatriot Ruben Neves, for whom they paid a remarkable €55 million last month, and Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who is closing in on a move to Saudi Arabia.
Serbia international Milinkovic-Savic has been offered a net salary worth €15 million a year and a contract that will run until 2026 with the option for a further 12 months. Al Hilal are prepared to pay €40 million to Lazio for arguably their most important player and CBS Sports understands that an agreement is close to being concluded between all three parties. Even in a summer of significant spending from Saudi Arabia, securing Milinkovic-Savic would be a major coup for the Pro League, who would have convinced a 28-year-old in the peak of his powers to depart a club that he had just led to Champions League qualification.
Meanwhile Al Hilal are prepared to offer wages of €50 million a year to Silva, a salary package that vastly eclipses even what Manchester City are paying him. Sources close to the player have insisted that the 28-year-old is yet to decide from the four options currently available: moving to Al Hilal, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona or extending a contract at the Etihad Stadium that expires in 2025.
However, Al Hilal’s willingness to formalize their interest expresses their confidence that they can win the race, particularly at a time when other suitors will find it difficult to make a move. PSG are currently engulfed in uncertainty over the future of Kylian Mbappe while financing a deal for Silva would represent a major challenge for Barcelona.
The Portugal playmaker has been mulling the offer from Al Hilal over the past month. These negotiations, as with many major deals for Pro League clubs this summer, has been led by representatives from the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth fund which took majority control of Al Hilal, Al Nassr, Al Ahli and Al Ittihad in June. Negotiations on player salary and club-to-club talks tend to be led by PIF with it then coming down to player decision and the pitching of the four teams to decide a landing spot for the best talent.
As such, Al Nassr hoped to swing a deal for Bernardo after seeing their move for Hakim Ziyech fall apart, the Riyadh side feeling unable to make the same salary commitment after medical tests displayed what they felt were concerning results over the Moroccan’s knee and hip. An offer that would have lowered his guaranteed salary by 40 percent but with fitness clauses that would have topped it up to the previous €15 million a year mark remained on the table for several days after.
Ziyech has now formally rejected that proposal. However sources in Saudi Arabia suggest that Al Ahli could pick up the deal, based around the original agreement the Chelsea forward had with PIF, if they are unable to secure the services of first choice target Riyad Mahrez.
Al Nassr are also set to miss out on Inter goalkeeper Andre Onana, to whom they had made a lucrative offer as Manchester United struggled to secure his signature. United are now close to signing the Cameroonian. The man he will be replacing at Old Trafford, David de Gea, is among Al Nassr’s targets as they look to fill their goalkeeper position with David Ospina having suffered a major injury.
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