Bernardo Silva certainly didn’t look like a man who wants out of Manchester City as he sprinted away to the corner flag to celebrate his winner against Leicester City on Saturday.
He needed a bit of good fortune as the ball kindly ricocheted into his path in the box, but Silva made no mistake from close range as he smashed the ball beyond Kasper Schmeichel and into the back of the net to earn City a hard-fought victory.
In the grand scheme of things, it was just a goal, but it looked like so much more for Silva.
Silva’s desire to leave City has been known for a while now. He wanted out in 2020 and has maintained that stance in 2021, so much so that a transfer almost felt inevitable during the summer. Pep Guardiola even publicly confirmed Silva wanted to go.
Life clearly hasn’t been particularly fun for the City’s 2018/19 player of the year over the past 12 months, but he looked like he was having the time of his life against Leicester.
Starting in central midfield, Silva formed an enthralling left-sided partnership with winger Jack Grealish and full-back Joao Cancelo and looked like a kid in the park at times, skipping around defenders and playing as though the weight had been lifted off his shoulders.
Competition for minutes is fierce at City – neither Kevin De Bruyne or Phil Foden even made it off the bench – and that has been a problem for Silva historically. He has not appreciated the fact that he could drop a 10/10 one week and then be benched seven days later.
With most of his colleagues still recovering from injuries or dealing with other fitness issues, Silva clearly wants to take the opportunity to make him one of Guardiola’s undroppables, and performances like this will do exactly that.
Grealish brought the best out of Silva and Silva brought the best out of Grealish, and even Guardiola is going to have a tough time breaking that apart.
On Silva’s side, the passion is still there. He wants to be a success at City and he just wants a chance to prove that he can do that.
It’s obviously not going to be easy to convince Guardiola to put all his faith in him, but Silva clearly looks to be up for this battle, and that bodes well for City.