Man City have an obvious replacement for rowdy star Bernardo Silva - Manchester Evening News

Man City have an obvious replacement for rowdy star Bernardo Silva – Manchester Evening News

The revolution in Manchester City’s midfield couldn’t be as wild as it might have looked at the start of the summer.

Ilkay Gundogan may have left, but Kalvin Phillips has made it clear that he intends to stay and fight and there has yet to be any movement towards Bernardo Silva’s exit door. The Portugal international, fresh from celebrating his wedding, is looking to leave for a third summer in a row, but has still not found the right club for all parties.

That doesn’t mean Bernardo is definitely not leaving, and City are keeping their options open in the transfer market while they wait. There’s no shortage of midfielders Pep Guardiola is reviewing, and having shown enough interest in Declan Rice to make a £90m bid before conceding to Arsenal, there are several more goals; Celta midfielder Gabri Veiga is one of the more interesting names on the list.

However, as the City boss has said, no one can do the job that Bernardo does quite like the man himself – playing at a high level in a number of positions and happy to do whatever is asked of him to help the team. Replacing those properties won’t be easy.

READ ALSO: Gvardiol’s transfer shows that City are avoiding problems from last season

In fact, arguably the best like-for-like swap arrived in Guardiola’s squad at the same time six years ago: Phil Foden. The England star, who emerged as a top academy talent playing in a central midfield position, has spent most of his time in the first team, partly because he is still learning what the coach demands from a central role, but also because he is an offensive threat that few can match.

The arrival of Erling Haaland may have reduced the need to play Foden up front, but he’s still a good part of the attack when playing on both wings, most notably tearing United apart with Haaland in the 6-3 derby victory and leaving Dan Burn helpless to inspire. a win over Newcastle. Only Haaland and Julian Alvarez scored more than his 15 goals in all competitions last season.

The plan for Foden is to eventually move him into that central role, and it was notable that Guardiola turned to him to replace the injured Kevin De Bruyne in the Champions League final with an hour to go. The end of the season showed that the 23-year-old was never more ready to make the switch, even though he also excelled against Brighton from a wider position.

However, with Mateo Kovacic arriving to play several minutes down the middle and Phillips determined to get more playing time, the best place for Foden this year may still be the floating Bernardo role – especially if his teammate is sold – of moving between the midfield and the Wings. With The Blues looking unlikely to sign a new winger, Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish will need some serious competition to get a starting spot if City are to maintain their high standards.

The Stockport Iniesta can still become the Bramhall Bernardo.

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