Bury boss Chris Casper is in talks with five players, including Macclesfield Town midfielder Danny Whitaker.
The 25-year-old Silkman has been a first-team regular at Moss Rose since breaking through in the 2001/02 season, but is now out of contract.
He started 40 out of Town's 46 games in League Two last season and has consequently attracted the prying eyes of their Lancashire rivals from Gigg Lane, who are also in the market for four other potential players.
"We've made initial contact. They're quality players and they may have one or two options open to them," Casper revealed.
"If we can get close to what they're looking for and with the reputation that we've got, we're trying to do things the right way, they'll have freedom to express themselves and they can go and enjoy their football."
If Port Vale confirm their interest in the player, as expected, they may well have the upper hand in a deal because of the offer of League One football at Vale Park.