Italian outlet TuttoMercatoWeb have claimed that the two players are intertwined, as City would look to make a move for Barella if Silva decides to leave the Etihad. The Portuguese star has been linked with both Paris Saint-Germain and Saudi Arabia, though it is thought that the club are demanding £70million in order to fend off interest from elsewhere.

But if Silva does want a new challenge, City rarely stand in their players’ way, having allowed Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez the opportunity to leave on good terms. Guardiola has already earmarked Barella as a replacement for Silva, however, having been impressed with the Italian’s quality and leadership skills.

Whether Inter are open to a sale remains to be seen, though they have already rejected an approach from Newcastle this summer. Eddie Howe’s outfit had been in talks over a £50m move for the 26-year-old but reports at the time suggesting that a deal was close ended up being premature.

Liverpool hold a vested interest in Barella and are looking to keep strengthening their midfield after the additions of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, with both Jordan Henderson and Fabinho on the verge of exits to Saudi Arabia. However, they are yet to formalise a bid which may leave the door open for City to pounce.

Barella has three years left on his contract and has returned for pre-season with Inter, who had been under pressure financially to sell, but the £46m deal taking goalkeeper Andre Onana to Manchester United has eased some of that concern and now it is thought that Declan Rice’s £105m move to Arsenal will be seen as the benchmark for Barella.

The Inter star has been tipped for a big future and possibly a move to the Premier League already, as Liverpool icon Jamie Carragher has talked up the prospect of him heading to England. “I think he’s probably one of the best in Europe playing in that tucked in, right-sided central midfield position,” Carragher previously told CBS Sports. “He’s box-to-box and gets goals from there. We saw how outstanding he was for his national team in winning the European Championships.

“He’s a player who can open things up, he gets in there, but that inside right position now is so important in football and can you make runs from that position? He makes runs ahead of the striker and he’s a huge goal threat.

“Any top team needs to have goals from midfield. It’ll be really interesting if he actually stays at Inter, but you think one day would he go the Premier League – or maybe one of the Spanish giants – because I certainly think he has the ability to do so.”