Bernardo Silva has joined Manchester City. The money doesn’t matter for fantasy premier league – it’s massive, let’s move on – but if reports are to be believe City may have spent north of 43M on a player with a burgeoning reputation and an undisputed eye for goal. Over the past three seasons in France, the 22-year-old has managed 24 league goals with 13 assists; scoring consistently with eight, seven, and nine goals in those years. His 10 goals and 10 assists in 51 2016/17 appearances are significantly less impressive than his eight goals and nine assists in 37 Ligue 1 appearances (33 starts, 4 substitute, 2800′). The No. 10 joins an attacking cadre which already boasts Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, and David Silva.
More than half of the 15 most expensive all-time buys by English clubs have been by Man City (8/15), whatever Bernardo Silva cost. pic.twitter.com/5hPHMff9oX
— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) May 26, 2017
Playing time could be at a premium and Bernardo is not guaranteed starting minutes out of the gate. Reports have Kelechi Iheanacho departing Manchester for West Ham in a 24m deal. That hardly opens playing time in Pep’s squad with Yaya Toure (5 goals, 1941′) and Nolito (4 goals, 3 assists, 777′) still on the books. Pep will be feeling pressure to compete on all fronts as City chase a trophy, any trophy after a season which the boss admits would have got him fired at Bayern or Barca. He has started reshaping the squad and Silva is unlikely to be the last addition to the squad.
Valuing him for FPL purposes, we’ll tackle draft first. Silva, B. has already commanded significant attention in early expert mock drafts. In an 8-team draft between the Togga writing staff he was selected Round 4, Pick 7 (28th overall) ahead of Raheem Sterling, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and, well, 127 other players. That value is crazy high and most conservative FPL managers would not reach for him so early. However, the pick illustrates that you will need to spend an early-round pick on him if you want him on your team. We do not yet know where Opta will rate him, but based on other similar players both midfield and forward are possible. Personally, I’m leaning towards midfield with the presence of Jesus/Aguero likely to mean Man City plays a midfield four more often this season. He also played considerably more in midfield for former club Monaco last term.
Bernardo Silva's playing positions in the 2016-17 season with the majority of his appearances on the right. [WhoScored] pic.twitter.com/VuTqNYNJuR
— City Watch (@City_Watch) May 26, 2017
In FPL salary-cap leagues like the Official game he will assuredly be a midfielder and much of his value will depend on his price. KDB (10.5), Silva (8.6), Sterling (7.5), Sane (7.7), Nolito (8.4) and Yaya (7.2) make for interesting comps; concern over playing time could see Bernardo debut below 8.5, which will make him an attractive option for many managers. Salary-cap, unlike draft, does not afford FPL managers time for a player to grow. We saw this past season that Cesc Fabregas took time to adapt to Antonio Conte’s tactics, and Pep himself used Leroy Sane just nine times in City’s opening 21 league matches for a total of 392′. Wise managers will wait until he is established before investing.
So what can you expect in terms of production? His relevant Togga stats from this past season include a total of 60 shots, with 21 of those coming from outside the box. In his final season at Monaco he attempted 117 takeons, but completed just 70, a 60% success rate. That puts him in line with Sterling (79/140), Sane (53/95) and Aguero (79/125) but behind KDB (53/78) and Silva, D. (46/69) for efficiency.
He made 60 key passes this season after recording 43 in 2240′ and 46 in 2287′ over the past two years. 27 interceptions, 47 tackles won, 15 clearances and 17 aerial duels won make for some interesting comps. De Bruyne won 49 tackles and Silva won 44, perhaps indicating the Bernardo is a better tactical fit for Pep than Sterling (23) or Nolito (15). This is also borne out in his interceptions as KDB (23) leads the attacking midfielders with no one else claiming more than 16. These are small potatoes in terms of fantasy points, but could indicate a greater likelihood Bernardo earns minutes – and minutes are king.
Final verdict: We’re valuing him as a MID3 right now, placing him between 21-30 overall at his position. This past season midfielders Adam Lallana (312pts), Cesc Fabregas (305.5) and Victor Moses (291.5) finished in that range. If Bernardo is handed the keys to the kingdom, his value jumps to a MID 2 and he should be rated at least as highly as David Silva – who finished 2016/17 as the 14th midfielder and 25th highest scoring player overall.