The day David Silva left Manchester and the Etihad Stadium, the home of Manchester City, was likely a bittersweet moment.
Many would say it was the right time for him to leave. At 33, almost 34, his best years were behind him. The speed and physicality of the Premier League often proves to get the better out of even the most dedicated athletes who want to remain in the English game.
Silva had an illustrious career with City. Many would place him in the upper echelons of the greatest midfielders to ever grace the game. 77 goals in 436 appearances doesn’t do Silva’s impact justice, particularly. His impact rarely came through finding the net himself.
A creative force of nature, a playmaker with the Spanish flair and vision and a steely determination. He became a World Cup winner, along with four Premier League titles, 2 FA Cups and a host of individual awards during his time in the North of England.
As it stands, City are struggling in a season where no team has made a convincing claim to be favourites. The exact sort of player they need right now is someone like Silva. A central, deep-lying passer, who can release De Bruyne forward to support. It makes, therefore, the experience even tougher on City fans as David Silva, now a feature of Real Sociedad’s side in La Liga, is proving that his best years are far from behind him. As he scooped up Sociedad’s Player of the Month award for November 2020, Silva appears to be far from finished tormenting the defenders tasked with intercepting his pinpoint passes.
Winger Adnan Januzaj, ex-Arsenal left-back (now centre-back) Nacho Monreal and defensive-midfielder Mikel Merino - once a Newcastle fringe player - are all mainstays alongside David Silva and now basking in their new-found limelight, as they make a convincing challenge for the title. According to the latest La Liga betting, Real Sociedad are currently 12/1 to win the league outright - it would be their third title domestic title, the last two occurring in 40 years.
Having looked likely to join Lazio last summer, Silva’s transfer to Sociedad hardly raised eyebrows. It was an ageing midfielder returning to his homeland, theoretically to wile away those twilight years at a mid-flight team on the Spanish coast. Who could blame him? Evidently, he had other ideas.
Flanked by a host of Premier League players, Silva has plugged a gaping hole left in Sociedad’s midfield by Real Madrid starlet Martin Odegaard’s departure from his loan last season. In only 8 matches, the Spaniard had recorded a goal and two assists, along with an 86% passing completion rate. His presence is not only actively supportive to the attack, but also provides a composure reserved for players like Silva with decades of top-flight football under their belts.
The conservative football fan would be quick to remind you that these are early days. It’s a fair point, but certainly does Sociedad some injustice. Their performances have been impressive, so much so, they boast the fourth best odds to win the La Liga title next year, only outranked by giants Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid - and that has to count for something.