Voted the club’s Player of the Month for September, Manchester City fans have expressed their appreciation for Bernardo Silva in more ways than one. The midfielder has been City’s best player so far this season and he looks hungry to do more.
When Silva was brought in by Pep Guardiola, he was expected to be the heir to his namesake, David Silva. But the Portuguese has steadily grown into a man of his own. He has his own style and has continued to get better at it.
The manager singled him out as the most important player in the team after the 2018/19 league triumph. After taking a season off in terms of the level of performance, he returned last term to help the team secure another Premier League title win.
Despite his trophy-laden period at the Etihad Stadium, his best output in terms of goal contributions was with Monaco in the 2016/17 campaign. He anchored the midfield for the French Ligue 1 side playing in all but one of the league games.
His eight league goals and nine assists helped the side beat Paris Saint-Germain to the league title. European heavyweights were alerted to his talent and productivity. Guardiola-led Man City won the race for his signature.
Admittedly, leaving Monaco for City is a step up. But the Portuguese has been largely deployed out of his favourite position at the club. Add to that a reduction in his game time and the result is a significant drop in output.
It is noteworthy that his most productive season in a City shirt came when he played the most games. That was in 2018/19. He contributed seven goals and the same number of assists in 36 league appearances. His work rate is immeasurable.
So far, his lowest return for the club came last term when he scored only two league goals all season. Playing the least number of games since joining the club, and most of them out of his favourite position, may have contributed to his decision to leave.
He couldn’t, despite Guardiola’s acceptance of his decision, as no club showed enough interest to activate his release clause. The 26-year-old was advised to get back to work and concentrate on giving his best to the team.
He clearly took the advice as his performance this season has been top notch. Not only has he started eight out of the first nine league games, he is playing his preferred midfield role. Having already matched his goal tally for last season, it promises to be a much better campaign for him.
Guardiola needs to keep him happy at the club so he can change his mind about leaving. The manager will do well to yield to his desire to play in midfield rather than on the wings. And give him regular playing time as well.
If necessary, the club can also improve terms on his contract to keep him happy so he can continue giving his best to the team.
After winning the Etihad Player of the Year award in 2018/19, he could yet do even more. Mohamed Salah may be grabbing all the headlines at Liverpool for his goals, but Bernardo is the most well-rounded and hardest working player in the league at the moment.
If that helps City win more trophies and conquer Europe, it will be worth going the extra mile to keep a prized asset.