Bernardo Silva was nothing special when he first signed for City. Off the back of a phenomenal season with Monaco the Blue side of Manchester expected big things from him, but he didn’t deliver. His lacklustre performances led to Pep instating Sterling as his preferred winger limiting the former’s chances to impress.
Bernardo managed to avoid criticism from the Etihad faithful with the majority remaining hopeful he’d improve, many made comparisons with how it took David Silva a while to adapt to the English game upon his signing in 2010 – it was almost like Deja Vu. The myriad consensus of sanguineness was correct, after Christmas the Portuguese came into his own playing exceptionally well. Ending the his debut campaign impressively followed up with World Cup performances which were decent, nothing spectacular. It did however give us an insight into his effectiveness when played centrally rather than out wide.
Most City fans assumed that Bernardo would eventually move into a central role with the aim of replacing Spanish Dave. Pep hinted at this when we first signed him, although it is perhaps surprising how soon Guardiola has moved him central. Filling David Silva’s shoes is an arduous task to say the very least. It’s difficult to imagine anybody better to try than B.Silva, the way the Catalonian coach talks about him speaks volumes;
“Bernardo is far away from other guys, so that’s why, at the moment, he plays.
“He is so intelligent, he is clever. He is a fighter, a competitor. I think he is the guy most beloved in our team and today he showed me a lot of things.
“He came back earlier and that showed me again a lot of things and that’s one of the reasons we won today. It was for many reasons. One of the reasons was Bernardo.”
That was after the Chelsea game, where he was the best player on the pitch – eliminating any initial regret City fans were thinking about not signing Jorginho.
The 23 year old cost £43.5million, which already seems like a bargain. Portuguese fans say he’s their best player since Ronaldo, some compliment that. In his early days Silva was naturally compared to Ronaldo due to the similarity in their offensive wide play, whereas this season City’s #20 will excel pulling the strings in attacking midfield role alongside De Bruyne. It will be interesting to see how Guardiola rotates KdB, Bernardo and David Silva in those positions though. David Silva; who many City fans will argue is their greatest ever player is unlikely to perform consistently as he has done year after year as he is 32 now, he undoubtedly will feature in abundance but is likely to alternate with Bernardo, astutely mentoring the latter to take his place.
It genuinely would not be too surprising if Bernardo performs as well as De Bruyne did last season. His first touch and vision are reminiscent of De Bruyne and Spanish Dave respectively, it was staggering how phenomenal he was against Chelsea in the Community Shield. Under Pep’s guidance he can achieve great success in East Manchester. If City don’t win the league again it’ll be very surprising, with Mahrez/Sterling fighting it out for a place on the right-wing it allows Bernardo to cause damage in that central role.
It’s hard to pick out any faults with David Silva’s game, but if you had to it would probably be his shooting. Whilst the Silva’s share several similar characteristics Bernardo already has the edge in the goal scoring department as we’ve seen him score a few wonder goals – Arsenal comes to mind.
It finally appears that City has a suitable replacement for David Silva; let Bernardo do his talking on the pitch, everybody will be talking about him after the upcoming season finishes.