Bernardo Silva: Five reasons why Man City landed a bargain from Monaco
Manchester City made their first move of what promises to be a busy summer by sealing a deal for Monaco midfielder Bernardo Silva on Friday.
The Portugal midfielder will cost £43m when he completes his move when the transfer window opens on July 1. It's the first major deal of the summer and it could turn out to be a bargain for Pep Guardiola's side. Here are five reasons why...
He's a perfect fit
In Guardiola's first season a pattern was quickly established in the majority of Premier League games that saw City dominate possession, with opponents defending deep and playing on the counter-attack. "We attack in small spaces and defend huge spaces behind," the City boss said in February.
While City have some incredible attackers, they are short of the type of players that are able to play killer passes and create opportunities in tight spaces. David Silva is a master at it and City suffered when he wasn't in the side; Bernardo Silva will be a major help and looks like the perfect heir to the 31-year-old Spaniard with his ability to protect the ball under the pressure, eke out opportunities and weigh in with important goals.
Monaco centre back Jemerson said: "At training and during matches he does incredible things. You think he is about to lose the ball but no, it is still there between his feet. You don't even know how he did it."
He can getter even better
In a Monaco team that made a spectacular impact on Ligue 1 and the Champions League, Silva was the heartbeat of Leonardo Jardim's side. The Portugal international was able to take control of games and mobilise an exciting attack that averaged an impressive 2.8 goals per game.
Guardiola saw his qualities at first hand with a brilliant performance in the Champions League round of 16 victory over City, where he was arguably the best player on the pitch in both legs. And, at, 22 Silva can get even better.
Former Portugal and Barcelona playmaker Deco said: "[He] 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."
Silva is determined to improve and his desire to work hard will be hugely appealing to Guardiola. "Nowadays if you don't work hard, even if you're one of the best you don't succeed," he told the club website after signing. "It's not only defenders who have to defend or attackers who have to attack. It's a team and we all have to do everything."
City made a major statement
Silva was being monitored by some of the biggest clubs in Europe, not least City's neighbours Manchester United, who were heavily linked with a move. But City's interest went virtually under the radar and his move was sealed in incredibly quick fashion.
Not only have they stolen a march on their rivals, City have also made a huge statement about their intentions for the summer. Guardiola showed he wants a serious upgrade of his squad last week with the release of six senior players who had played regularly throughout the season. Their departure followed by the arrival of Silva, shows the standard of player Guardiola is keen to bring in for the new season as he sets about on a £200m overhaul of the squad.
The price was right
It's early to evaluate the cost of Silva, but £43m could turn out to be a relatively cheap deal for a player who could offer a decade of service at the Etihad. Premier League clubs are set to be awash with money for transfers again and with few high-end players making moves, there will always be a premium for top quality.
English rivals Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and United are all expected to strengthen their midfield; Bayern Munich will be looking for a replacement for Xabi Alonso; Italian giants Milan and Inter are expected to spend heavily; Real Madrid are always interested in marquee signing. At the end of August, Silva could look like a real bargain.
It was quick business
City have moved remarkably fast to get their first transfer deal completed and they are set to follow up quickly with more acquisitions. Guardiola is determined to launch a Premier League title challenge and improve on last season's disappointing round of 16 exit in the Champions League.
The Catalan will already be drawing up plans on his strategy for the new campaign and he could have a large part ready to test out by the time City set off on their preseason tour to the United States on July 16.
Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.