What is the true value of David Silva? Some of his early critics pointed to his lack of strength, his slight build and his Spanish heritage. He’ll never succeed in the Premiership, especially “on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke…” if the general ignorance of xenophobic analysis is to be believed.
Modric and Silva have very similar builds, play in a similar position, both are very fluid in their movements around the pitch and, this season, have played a comparable amount of minutes in teams who are in direct competition with each other.
These two players are priceless (see Daniel Levy’s stubbornness in refusing to sell Modric to Chelsea this summer) in terms of creativity. Silva cost £20 million and Modric was ‘only’ £16.5m, not cheap but, since they have both settled down after a nervous start to their careers in the Premier League, fantastic value. Why?
Finding the magician who can unlock a defence, the player who can pick out your star striker, keep the ball in tight situations and still weigh in with the odd goal is no easy task. In fact, as Chelsea and Liverpool have found out this season, is it crucial to so many other elements of the team working.
Silva and Modric’s accuracy of passes may not be up there in the realm of +90% pin-pointers, Yaya Toure, Leon Britton or Xavi but it’s the type of pass that matters, the commitment to play the tough pass, even if you fail, that illustrates the value of Silva and to a lesser extent, Modric.
Silva has created 62 chances for his Man City team-mates, a chance every 27 minutes or at least 3 every game. He’s clear at the top of the assists league:
Creating space is another cog is the mechanics of Silva’s game, and one of the most difficult to master and something that is alien to a lot of English players. Once you’re taught to stick to your position rigidly, exploiting space by leaving your position and dragging defenders out of position. Here’s an excerpt from a fantastic piece by Tim Hill
The rationale behind swapping of positions is simple, it drags the defence around into bad positions and takes the defensive line out of shape. With Vicente dropping deep and inside (1), Villa drops to the left and deep, taking the centre-backs with him (2). Silva, the spare man in midfield therefore has the opportunity to run into the space left by the departing Villa and his markers (3).
Tim Hill wrote that before Silva ever came to the Premiership, during his days at Valencia, but is, without doubt, crucial to him being purchased by City, crucial to what he does now and City’s evolution from the organised, defence-minded team of last year to the goalscoring titans we’ve seen this season.
One of the most crucial victories was the one at Old Trafford, and a comparison with the game last season highlights the need for the opposition to stop Silva.
Silva contributed one assist and one goal in the game this season, as well as far more passes to his own team mates. In the game last season Silva was closed down far more often, had less space and made far more mistakes. His passing accuracy was only 76%, and he only created one chance throughout the whole game. His passing accuracy this season was 92% and he created 6 chances.
In a team that has spent the most money, pays the most money and may not be allowed to play in the Champions League, because of this huge financial investment, the true value of David Silva to Manchester City is difficult to quantify. Just imagine trying to buy him now, and remember Chelsea were reported to have bid £40m for Modric in the summer – a player who has contributed a lot less than Silva this season – and maybe, if you take Chelsea’s bid, and double it, you might find the monetary value of Silva. If I had lots of oil and lots of money, forget the golden boys like Ronaldo or Tevez, I’d always invest in Silva.