Statistics do not tell you everything there is to know when it comes to football. If they did, Bernardo Silva would be acknowledged worldwide as one of the best players in the world. He will also be much sought after. That’s for sure.
The fact is that Silva was available for the taking at Manchester City for two to three transfer windows, even when the player had made his intention to seek a new challenge clear. Yet, no top European club was ready to make the necessary effort and pay to sign the Portuguese midfielder says a lot about how much his value is perceived.
Imagine for a moment that the likes of Enzo Fernandez, Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo cost over £100 million in the transfer market. Well, that’s actually the reality. But Silva was available for much less, yet no club made any serious bid or even tried to sit on the negotiation table with City. It is very likely that the player could have been signed for less than City’s asking price based on the fact he wanted to leave.
Be that as it may, other teams’ loss is City’s gain.
It came as great news when the Portugal international made a U-turn and committed his future to the club, extending his stay at the Etihad Stadium for another three years. Yours truly was in a celebration mood. The news made my day. And that’s for a good reason.
In a world of transfer signings where some work out and others don’t, Silva has been a hit at the Etihad Stadium from day one and remained consistently good. Signed by Pep Guardiola for an initial £43m in 2017, he is the only player the Catalan manager said was a bargain. He cost much less than was expected (given his value) even at the time.
Brought in as the man to replace David Silva in the City midfield, he has grown to become a unique player in his own right. Mr Utility himself, Silva has played in the back four, defensive midfield, attacking midfield, on the wings and even as a false nine at different times in his City career.
Many times he has also been given a free role on the pitch. He will roam about putting out fires. He will disrupt opposition play, snuffing attacks and initiating his own for the Blues. And when needed, he will also be on hand to set up goals or apply the finishing touch.
It doesn’t matter what system Guardiola decides to play, you may as well reserve a position for Bernardo Silva because he will fit in. Mr. Versatile will not only feature – he will burst his lungs for the team. Most importantly, he steps up in the big games and usually makes significant contributions.
Two important wins in recent history come to mind. Liverpool turned up at the Etihad Stadium in January 2019 having not lost a game since the season began and leading City by seven points. A lung-busting performance by the Portuguese helped the team secure a hard-fought 2-1 victory. That win not only cut Liverpool’s seven-point lead to four, but also turned the tables on the Reds leading to City’s 2018/19 title win.
Lately, Erling Haaland has been voted PFA Player of the Year as can be expected. But Silva could not even make it into the team of the year. The team consisted of Aaron Ramsdale, Kieran Trippier, Ruben Dias, John Stones, William Saliba, Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Erling Haaland, and Harry Kane.
Recognition has been difficult to come by for Silva. But that doesn’t change the fact that he remains one of the best in the world right now. He has been one of the best players at City, helping the team achieve tremendous success in the last several years. Fortunately, he doesn’t care much about that and continues to give his best every time he steps on the pitch.