Silva shining bright

The diminutive midfielder has so far remained true to Valencia and has been non-committal in his responses to expressions of interest from elsewhere, writes Eleanor Crooks.

Goal machine David Villa has long been linked with a move away from Valencia, but there is no lack of suitors for another David making waves at the Mestalla.

Diminutive midfielder David Silva has been linked with the so-called ‘Big Four’ of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal in England, while Real Madrid is also known admirer of the 24-year-old.

Given Silva’s impressive performances in Euro 2008, when he formed a midfield triumvirate with Xavi and Andres Iniesta at the heart of Spain’s all-conquering side, it is perhaps surprising he has not yet been snapped up by one of Europe’s superpowers.

Indeed, Silva is one of the main reasons why Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas finds himself struggling to hold down a place in his national team.

That Spain is blessed with four such talented playmakers at the same time must make other international managers look on with envy — and makes it worthy favourite for World Cup glory later this year.

Silva has so far remained true to Valencia and has been non-committal in his responses to expressions of interest from elsewhere.

“It’s flattering that a team like Real Madrid is interested, but at the moment I am at Valencia,” he said before the start of the season.

But, although the side would be loath to losing one of its star players, a big-money transfer may in fact suit cash-strapped Valencia.

The Mediterranean club has been hit hard by the economic downturn, which has so far scuppered its plans to build a new 200 million euro (GBP175 million) 75,000 capacity stadium, while last year it had trouble paying its players.

Silva, who hails from Gran Canaria, joined Valencia at the age of 17, but took his time to break into the first-team picture at the Mestalla.

He was first loaned out to Segunda Division side SD Eibar for the 2004/05 season, where he scored five goals in 35 games.

The next season was spent with Celta Vigo, where, after initially having to settle for a place on the bench, he began to catch the eye of other teams in Spain.

Silva’s form was a big part of the newly-promoted team’s run to sixth place, which saw it qualify for the UEFA Cup.

There was no question of Valencia letting him out of its sight after that and he quickly established himself as the natural successor to Pablo Aimar, even taking the Argentinian’s trademark No. 21 shirt.

Since netting his first goal for Los Che in November 2006, Silva has gone from strength to strength and was rewarded for his efforts with a first piece of club silverware in 2008 when Valencia won the Copa del Rey.

Silva is equally at home as a conventional wide man, in the playmaker role or further forward and is the player Villa looks to, to provide him with goals, both domestically and internationally.

He was on Spain’s radar early and played in the same under-17 side as Fabregas before moving up to under-21 level in 2006.

Silva made his debut for the senior side in November the same year and scored his first goals in a 3-2 friendly win over Greece in August 2007.

His inclusion in the Euro 2008 squad was assured and he netted in Spain’s semifinal victory over Russia, although he found himself the focus of attention for the wrong reasons in the final when he was substituted after an angry clash with Germany’s Lukas Podolski.

Valencia coach Unai Emery has no doubt about Silva’s class, comparing him with former FIFA World Player of the Year and Real Madrid star Kaka.

“Logically, Kaka has won more and done more in the game but David is heading that way with steady performances. If I had to choose either, I’d stay with David,” he said this season.

For how long he will have that luxury, though, is open to debate.

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