Two years after Sir Alex Ferguson failed to persuade Valencia to sell the jewel in their crown to United, the little man with the big talent is looking like a £29million bargain across town at City.
Silva – winner of the World Cup and the European Championship with Spain in two of the past three summers – insists that when Valencia told him they were ready to cash in on his talent his priority was medals rather than money.
It didn’t take him long to realise that Manchester is a city of haves and have-nots, where football is concerned, and that despite City’s cash, it is United who have the bragging rights.
Yet Silva’s eyes lit up when I asked him about the banner situated above the Stretford End that keeps time on almost 35 years of City failure. He says times are changing.
“The one thing I came to understand very quickly is that football is important to the people of Manchester and that the rivalry between the two clubs is a big part of the culture here,” said Silva.
“Both City and United fans have been respectful to me when I am around town. You get the odd joke comment from the red half, but I like that because it is always done in a good spirit.
“Of course, I wasn’t aware of the banner they have at Old Trafford – but I am now and let’s hope that in the near future we can put a stop to all of that. The only way to answer things like that is to be successful.
“I never seriously thought about joining United when they asked about me because it was clear at the time that Valencia would not sell.
“I understand there was a conversation between United and my agent, but it came to nothing.
“These things happen quite often in football and the moment passes. It was only last summer, when it became clear that the financial problems at Valencia meant they would have to sell, that I really considered what opportunities were open to me.
“And it was always going to be City once they made it clear to me how important I would be to them.”