Bernardo Silva is now “happier” at Manchester City after rumours of a summer exit, according to Pep Guardiola – but that doesn’t mean his future is certain.
Silva looked a brilliant signing for City after the impression he made following his move from Monaco in 2017. He made more than 50 appearances in each of his first three seasons at the Etihad Stadium. His goal tallies for those years were nine, 13 and eight.
Last season, his fourth at the club, was more challenging, though. Silva still managed 45 appearances, but his five goals were the lowest return of his career since he started playing regularly.
After struggling to cement his place in the team, the Portugal international was contemplating his future over the summer. With Jack Grealish arriving in a club-record transfer, further competition was added for Silva’s place. He subsequently began eyeing a move to La Liga, although there were also rumours that Arsenal were interested.
Ultimately, he remained a City player after the closure of the summer transfer window. The task now for Silva is to fight for his place.
He has already started five Premier League games for City this season. His performance against Chelsea in City’s 1-0 win at the weekend drew plaudits, showing signs of a resurgence.
Consequently, City boss Guardiola has praised Silva’s adaptability and confirmed the midfielder is more positive now. Even so, the prospect of an exit in future remains on the cards.
Guardiola said: “He’s so intuitive. It’s not his role as a holding midfielder but he knows exactly how to play it and how to anticipate what is going to happen, with the ball or without the ball.
“All I want is for Bernardo to be happy, here or anywhere. All I want is his happiness because he’s a guy that deserves the best.
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“Against Norwich he played exceptional, against Arsenal he played exceptional, Southampton he played at the level of the team – that was not good.
“But how well he played against Chelsea is no surprise. How many times have we seen it? He was an incredible signing for us because he’s an exceptional person.
“I never forget the second Premier League we won, with 98 points, he was the best player in England. He was nominated [for an award] but he was the best.
“After that season, later he dropped a little bit, he was not in the position he prefers but now he’s back and hopefully he can help us.
“If, at the end, he wants to leave and decides [to go] the only thing I can say is that the guy or the club that gets Bernardo is going to take one of the best players in the world.
“Is he happier? You cannot play in this way if you are not happy; it’s impossible.”
Guardiola sends striker message
The match winner on Saturday was Gabriel Jesus, who scored the only goal of the game. There could be a lot of pressure on him this year as the only senior centre-forward in the City squad.
But after the game, Guardiola backed the club’s decision not to sign a replacement for the legendary Sergio Aguero in the summer.
He said: “Sometimes we believe we need a proper striker to finish. But the important thing is the way we play.
“The most important thing is doing it as a team and as a unit. It’s like last season. Sergio was injured all year and we won the Premier League.”
Even so, City continue to be linked with attacking reinforcements of significant pedigree…