The left sided defender was on loan at Newcastle from Paris St. Germain and was keen to stay in English football. That sparked a race for his signature but it was the pulling power of Kevin Keegan that won the day. He had been in City's sights for some time and when promotion was assured the manager made his moves with the club's director of football, Dennis Tueart revealing that City had been interested in the Frenchman for some time. Despite efforts by Newcastle to keep the player he opted instead for Manchester City excited by the potential of the Keegan revolution.
Sylvain took up the captain's armband when Steve Howey lost his place and Ali Benarbia was a non starter. The Frenchman ended his first season with praise for his performances ringing in his ears. However with only one year remaining of his contract and showing great reluctance against signing an extension, he was stripped of the captaincy and had to surrender his number 5 jersey to newcomer Ousmane Dabo. After lengthy talks between the club and his agents Sylvain decided to seek his fortune elsewhere and after becoming a free agent he signed for Portsmouth and reunited with David James and Andy Cole.