In our Transfers that shook the club feature, Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at deals that had many may not have seen coming and the impact that they had during their time by using statistical data and pundit remarks.
When Spain won the World Cup in 2010, just three of their squad were based outside La Liga and each of those was playing in the Premier League. That number would increase not long after their triumphant night in Johannesburg as Manchester City, still seeking to break into the Champions League two years after the Abu Dhabi group’s takeover, spent £25m to bring in the diminutive 24-year-old midfielder David Silva from Valencia.
His first Premier League goal didn’t arrive until October but it was worth the wait as he twisted two Blackpool defenders inside out before curling a beautiful shot into the home side’s net at Bloomfield Road in a 3-2 victory (as per BBC). At the end of his first season at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City had clinched Champions League qualification.
If his first year in Manchester was promising, Silva’s second was most memorable. His six goals and 17 assists played a significant part in Roberto Mancini’s team winning the Premier League title in dramatic circumstances with a stoppage time final day victory over QPR. He gave a masterclass on the day that City thrashed Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford, scoring one goal and being involved in another three.
He agreed a new five-year deal at the Etihad Stadium in September 2012 and a second league title came his way the following season. Again he was a key part of Premier League success for Manchester City, with seven goals and 12 assists as they pipped Liverpool to the post. Another new deal was signed at the start of the 2014/15 season, during which he recorded his highest Premier League scoring tally of 12 for a single campaign.
Although Manuel Pellegrini’s team relinquished their title to Chelsea, Silva’s consistently brilliant performances saw him labelled as the best player in the league by his team-mate Edin Dzeko, with the 2015/16 season being the fifth in a row in which he reached double figures for assists in a Premier League campaign.
When Manchester City reclaimed the Premier League crown in 2017/18 with a record points haul of 100, Silva’s displays that season saw him nominated for the PFA Player of the Year, while he found the net in the Carabao Cup final triumph over Arsenal with one of his 10 goals that term. He reached 50 league goals for City in the early weeks of 2018/19, by the end of which he had three more domestic trophies in the bag, including a fourth league title.
Last June, at the age of 33, the mercurial Spaniard announced that he would leave Manchester City at the end of the season, with the club announcing this week that they plan to commemorate Silva in the form of a mosaic at their training ground (as per Daily Mail). That news met with opposition from many of the club’s fans who called for a more emphatic tribute to the midfielder.
Has David Silva been Manchester City's best player of the last 10 years?
As things stand, he has 74 goals and 137 assists in 424 Manchester City appearances, winning 13 trophies in his decade at the club, while his tally of 90 Premier League assists is the seventh highest in the division’s history.
Alan Shearer, the Premier League’s record goalscorer, has described Silva as “just an incredible player” on BBC’S Match of the Day [via Manchester Evening News]. On Sky Sports [via Sports Joe], Jamie Carragher said of the Spaniard: “We are talking about a player who goes alongside yourself [Thierry Henry], Dennis Bergkamp, Eric Cantona. All these greats that we’ve had in Premier League history. He is one of the greatest we’ve ever had.”
Even if Manchester City don’t win the Premier League in Silva’s last season at the club, he is destined to depart as a legend given his enormous contribution over the past 10 years. Considering the trophies he has won, the goal figures he has posted and the trickery he has shown, that £25m investment in 2010 may well go down as one of the best pieces of transfer business in Manchester City’s history.
Man City fans, do you think Silva has been one of the club’s greatest-ever players? Comment below with your views!
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