The Spaniard will be joining the Italian side ahead of the next Serie A season.

David Silva looks set to join SS Lazio ahead of the 2020-21 Serie A season. The Spaniard has had a stellar career with Manchester City and was pivotal to their resurgence in the last decade. At 34 years of age, the midfielder is now looking to commence a new chapter in his career at the Roman club.

Why Lazio?

Lazio have made quite a few heads turn due to their performances in the Italian league in 2019-20. The Biancocelesti managed to finish in the top four in the 2018-19 season for only the third time in the last decade. Having secured a spot in the UEFA Champions League, Lazio must be looking to rope in players that can significantly upgrade the quality in the squad.

To go for David Silva in such a situation, especially in a situation that does not command Lazio to pay a transfer fee, is a move that puts out a strong statement. However, Simone Inzaghi might have to come up with a system that benefits both David Silva and Lazio. The Italian side does not have a lot of quality in the midfield currently, which might force the hands of Inzaghi to modify his approach in order to completely optimize Silva’s prospective impact on the field. 

Playing style & suitability

David Silva thrived for Manchester City as the duo of Fernandinho and Kevin de Bruyne accompanied him in a three-man midfield. Fernandinho was supposed to play as the anchorman in front of the defensive line. De Bruyne primarily donned the responsibility of an attacking midfielder usually playing from the right side of the field.

In the meanwhile, Silva operated in small pockets of spaces near the penalty box. He built up the play by interlinking with fellow midfielders and often created goal-scoring opportunities through passes that pierced through a few opposition players and reached the forward.

The Spaniard isn’t physically imposing, so he utilizes that low centre of gravity to swiftly move and indulge in passing patterns from half-spaces higher up on the field. At Lazio, David Silva could possibly come across midfield partners similar to that of Manchester City. Lucas Leiva functions as the enforcer in the middle for the Italian club. He guards the backline and that allows the other two midfielders to venture forward. Milinkovic-Savic balances his offensive and defensive duties equally, whilst inclining on the former a tad bit more.  

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There is also the duo of Luis Alberto and Joaquin Correa to compete against. Both play in an attacking midfield position or wider out on the wing, and will have to contend against Silva for a starting spot. Simone Inzaghi set up the team in a 3-5-2 formation last season. Such a system opens up opportunities to fit the former Valencia star albeit in a more rotational role of sorts.

David Silva at Lazio: A starter or a squad player?

In the 2019-20 season, the midfielder started in 22 games in the league for Manchester City. He clocked the second least number of minutes amongst the 10 seasons that he has turned up for the club in the top-tier of English football.

That is rather telling as considering his age and the other alternatives present in the squad, Pep Guardiola could actually afford to bench the playmaker on several instances. Will Inzaghi relish a similar privilege? Lazio might not possess footballers of the quality of de Bruyne, Rodri and likes, but they have an impressive assembly of players that missed out on the top spot in the Serie A by mere five points in 2019- 20.

Inzaghi will arguably deter from revamping his whole system at Lazio in order to accommodate David Silva. He will also be cautious of radically reducing the playing time of the likes of Alberto and Correa to provide a longer stretch of games to the Spaniard. The manager could instead look to unleash the Spaniard in critical, high-profile encounters that require the experience, composure and class of a player like him.

What does David Silva offer?

Moreover, Lazio were knocked out in the quarterfinals of Coppa Italia and couldn’t make it past the group stages last season. This is despite of them enduring one of their more successful runs in recent times. The club is set to play in the group stages of the Champions League in the forthcoming season and thus requires players in the squad that have a credible experience of battling the rigors of the continental competition.

Silva has played 54 games in the UEFA Champions League for City, scoring eight goals and registering 10 assists in the process. These aren’t overtly impressive numbers, but even City does not boast of a very formidable record in the competition. Furthermore, the depth in Lazio’s squad will be tested if they manage to proceed until a considerable length in these key tournaments.

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Claiming the Serie A title and breaking Juventus’ hegemony in the league is the primary target that Inzaghi and his men will desire to accomplish. The two seasons between 1999-2001 was the last instance in which Lazio managed to consecutively attain a top four spots in the Serie A. Interestingly, 1999-2000 was also the last time that they won the Serie A.

The entire recipe to obtain the fruits of this move is dependent on the manager now. Currently, it doesn’t look like the decorated star will immediately become central to Lazio’s style of play. He could be expected to feature prominently in certain phases of the season, fitting in perfectly into the system and thus providing his team that extra bit of quality and nudge to triumph over the more proficient opponents.

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