The Citizens were in a state of shock after their worst fears came true following the official club announcement that creative powerhouse Kevin De Bruyne would be sidelined for around three months after suffering a lateral collateral ligament (LCL) lesion in his right knee.
De Bruyne was an integral figure in Manchester City’s record-breaking domestic campaign last season with his astounding work-rate and intelligence on the ball contributing with 12 goals and as many as 21 assists in just 52 appearances. The Belgian’s consistent world-class performances nearly earned him the much coveted PFA player of the year award, finishing a close second to Liverpool’s messiah Mohamed Salah.
Several fans even expressed their concerns about the club’s performances in the absence of De Bruyne in the upcoming months with the 27-year-old ruled out of crucial league fixtures against Tottenham and Liverpool. The players, on the other hand, were less than concerned by this blow with defender Kyle Walker’s remarks indicating the confidence in the setup about the overall squad depth.
“Kevin is a great player, and it’s just unfortunate that it’s happened to him in training, but there’s more than enough depth in the squad.,”
“We don’t just rely on one player. It’s a team game and whoever steps in will do well. Obviously, it’s a big loss, but we’ve got more than enough cover.,”
In stepped, Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva who had earned a glowing reputation for himself on the back of eye-catching passes and excellent vision during his stint with Ligue 1 club Monaco. Silva contributed with eight goals and nine assists leading the Cote D’Azur outfit onto their first league title in 17 years after signing on for just €15.75 million from Benfica.
The 23-year-old had been largely relegated to the bench on the back of De Bruyne’s stunning performances last season, contributing with solid displays whenever afforded an opportunity after a big-money £43m move to Manchester City. Ex-Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola expressed his immense confidence in the midfielder’s capabilities who was nicknamed as “the little Messi” during his initial years.
Silva has certainly lived up to the nickname with his performances this season in a 2-0 win against formidable outfit Arsenal, stunning 6-1 victory over Huddersfield and a gritty 1-1 draw against the Wolves. His intelligent movement off the ball, inch-perfect passing and dribbling skills make him a worthy opponent for the best defenders in the business. The midfielder is extremely versatile at the same time, delivering excellent performances when deployed through the middle in the hole, on the left of midfield or even wide right making him a manager’s delight.
The 23-year-old is more than capable of holding on to the ball, even under intense pressure just like De Bruyne which perfectly suits Guardiola’s philosophy. Former Barcelona playmaker Deco went to the extent of hailing him as one of the best young prospects in the business, capable of emerging as one of the best in the business in the coming years.
“I think Portugal now have a good generation with lots of good young players in midfield mostly, but I think Bernardo Silva, who plays for Monaco, could be one of the greatest players in the world. He has a lot of quality.,”
“He is a good player. He takes risks. That’s why I like him. He can be the No 10 of the national team for years.,”
Manchester City certainly enjoys the perfect opportunity to create history this season by winning the Premier League on a consecutive basis for the first time considering the presence of quality midfielders like Bernardo Silva.
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