3 Potential Replacements for the Departing David Silva at City

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The Irreplaceable David Silva

After a distinguished career at the Etihad, this season marks the last in Manchester City colours for veteran midfielder David Silva, after he announced this departure at the end of last season.

For the past 10 years, Silva has been the omnipresent creative force for a City side enjoying the most successful decade in their history. During his time in Manchester, the talented Spaniard has over 400 appearances, winning four Premier League titles, four League Cups and two FA Cups. 

The creative burden is a considerable one, as if unable to create chances, teams will often struggle to score goals. Creators are arguably the most important and influential players on the pitch and Silva is no different. The Spaniard has contributed to over 200 City goals during his time in Manchester and his influence will be hard to replace.

After so many years of magical service, City will need a man for years to come to replace him. Whether a replacement is signed, or they utilise somebody who is already at the club remains to be seen, but there are options either way.

Here, take a look at some of the best and most realistic options as the players to fill the gap to be left behind by Silva.

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Phil Foden's Natural Progression

Whilst City have become renowned for spending money and bringing new players in, it may not be needed when it comes to replacing Silva. After all, they may have the perfect replacement right under their noses in Phil Foden.

The youth product has impressed on multiple occasions since making his first-team debut back in 2017. Foden hasn’t had as many starts or opportunities as some fans may want, but the 20-year-old has impressed at every given chance, developing into one of Europe's most-watched youngsters. 

Foden’s progression culminated with City’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa in their recent Carabao Cup final triumph. The 20-year-old played a starring role in the win, assisting Sergio Aguero for the opening goal and featuring throughout. With all eyes on the young star, he didn’t disappoint, showing that he holds the skill, confidence and creativity required to take over from Silva. 

Foden has been a City fan for his whole life and would surely relish the chance to become a legend for the club in the same way Silva has, he just needs to be given the opportunity. 

Pep Guardiola clearly rates the midfielder very highly, opting to keep him as part of the squad as opposed to sending him out on loan for more regular playing time. It might prove a risk given his shortage of first-team minutes, but the young midfielder has done his best with the limited time available. With Silva’s departure in the summer, it might finally be time for Guardiola to promote Foden to a regular starting spot. 

Although he may not fill the shoes immediately, building longevity and avoiding another FInancial Fair Play crisis could be easily avoided if the City boss just plays him more often. Because, clearly, he has what it takes.

Kai Havertz is worth a look

On the other hand, this is City we are talking about, after all. Guardiola’s side are no strangers to bringing in big-money signings and it could be more of the same if they want a player closer to Silva’s ability right now, as opposed waiting on Foden to grow.

Although the same age as Foden, Kai Havertz's experience is far greater. The Bayer Leverkusen star is one of the most exciting players in world football today and has plenty of time with the senior squad, despite being just 20.

It may seem counterintuitive spending money on a player just a year older than Foden, but Havertz boasts a lot more vital experience. The German playmaker has already made over 100 Bundesliga appearances, whilst Foden made just 32 in the Premier League, most of which have come from the bench.

In his time at Leverkusen, Havertz has developed into more than just a prospect. The playmaker has put himself amongst Europe’s elite and has already drawn comparisons to City star Silva and established himself as a real contender for laying claim to the best young playmaker around. Both men possess similar movement and off-the-ball awareness and despite his age, Havertz is accomplished at delivering the final product needed to play at such a high level.

Signing the German wouldn’t necessarily spell the end for Foden, either. Havertz's versatility would prove very useful to Guardiola with his ability to play in the centre of the park, in attacking midfield and out on the right-hand side of the pitch.

With Silva on the way out, Havertz looks a very interesting option as his replacement. He wouldn’t be cheap, and with a handful of European heavyweights seeking his signature, it'll be a tough one to get over the line.

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Jack Grealish could be considered

If City are interested in signing somebody to replace Silva perhaps, they should set their sights closer to home. The risk with buying from abroad is that no matter how accomplished a player is, they may struggle to adjust to life in the Premier League.

This wouldn’t be a problem with Jack Grealish, who has proven this season that he is a real star and can make a big impact in the league. Whilst Aston Villa to City will be quite the jump, the Englishman is consistently showing capabilities to do just that.

Despite his side struggling for most of the season, Grealish has excelled in an attacking role, claiming seven goals and six assists in the league. The 24-year-old has proven that he can compete at the highest level and looks set to move to a bigger club, especially if Villa get relegated.

Technically gifted with the ball at his feet, Grealish is of a similar ilk to Silva, but tends to play a little more directly - mainly due to Villa's inability to score from elsewhere. The Villa captain has proven this season that he can find the back of the net, make killer passes and offers a calmness on the ball when in possession. His qualities have shone through in this struggling Villa side and playing with the likes of Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero at City would only help Grealish establish himself as one of the country's very best.

If Villa find themselves relegated this season, the playmaker is likely to have his price tag slashed and could cost a lot less than if he was a Premier League star. There will be a host of England’s top clubs fighting for Grealish’s signature, most notably, rivals Manchester United. However, if he is offered regular playing time, there is no reason he would turn down the opportunity to play under Guardiola as Silva’s replacement. 

Proven in the Premier League, still young and capable of playing in various positions, Grealish looks a great replacement for Silva if City are looking at getting the chequebook out. 

By Jak Richardson

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