David Silva has stunned Manchester City fans by revealing his intentions to leave the club at the end of next season after a decade playing in the colours of blue and white. Next season will be the Spaniard’s tenth but final season in Manchester, arguably leaving as one of their most decorated players having won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups and two Community Shields – and that’s excluding his personal accolades.
The two-time PFA Team of the Year midfielder has visibly made his mark on the Premier League ever since joining City in 2010. To date, he has made 282 appearances in the competition recording 83 assists – which ranks seventh in the all-time list. Realistically he could reach fifth spot to overtake Dennis Bergkamp, if he is able to play enough games to register eleven or more assists. He’s also won 61.9% of those matches for City which to win that many games over that length of time is extremely remarkable.
But what does this mean for City going forward? The loss of such an influential figure will certainly have some sort of negative effect but if City are smart about it they can lessen the consequential space left in their midfield. How? First, let him play in his final year allowing him to surpass 300 appearances, trying to move up the all-time assist list and obviously contribute in the same way he has for nine years now. Secondly, make him take Phil Foden under his wing, mentoring him throughout the entire season. The 19-year-old is absolutely the right player to replace the Spaniard long-term and with the pair working in tandem, the transition between them both can become a hell of a lot smoother over the next eight months.
By the end of the next twelve months, City will have a new look with a clear changing of guard about to be set in motion. Club captain and legend Vincent Kompany has already left Manchester to return home to Anderlecht as player-manager, an opportunity at his age he simply couldn’t refuse – possibly also considering his own injury history. Though, he has been a strong character for the likes of John Stones and Aymeric Laporte in recent times, something Silva needs to mirror with Foden. Fernandinho isn’t getting any younger and the links to Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri suggests Pep Guardiola is considering a replacement sooner rather than later and Sergio Aguero is starting to enter the twilight of his career – that’s not to say he still can’t cut it in the Premier League because he certainly can, but he’s always made it clear he would like to end his playing days back at Independiente.
Silva and Foden are supremely like-for-like even though the 19-year-old is an England youth international, he possesses so much of the skill and nous you’d expect to see from a tricky little Spanish midfielder. Foden is so comfortable with the ball at his feet and loves to test his ability to weave in and around the opposition on the pitch. It almost sounds as if I am describing what Silva has done for nearly a decade.
The 33-year-old has even hinted that Foden is the player to take the reigns in midfield, saying to The Mirror: “I’m sure he’s going to be a fantastic player. He’s a very nice man and will be a good replacement for me. Apart from his natural skills, he’s a very competitive person. He always wants to win and that makes a very good footballer.” What is better than a glowing review from someone of Silva’s stature. City will more than likely continue to add trophies to their cabinet next season and having Silva around is going to bring so many benefits but none more so that the guidance he will bring to one of England’s best youth prospects, Phil Foden.