Andre Silva – From rejection in Milan to global stardom in Germany

Bolstered by early successes in his younger years at FC Porto, the meteoric rise of the now RB Leipzig forward Andre Silva has not been the sweetest of stories. Silva always had the talent, but struggled to cope with the pressure after his move away from Portugal to AC Milan. Things could have gone very wrong for the Portuguese forward, had he not made a move to Eintracht Frankfurt years later, resurging his career.

HOW IT STARTED

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Andre Silva joined FC Porto at the age of 15. He made his debut for FC Porto B in 2013, and went on to make 84 appearances for the team, before getting a proper call up to the senior squad in 2015. After making just nine appearances in 2015-16 under Julian Lopetegui, Andre Silva quickly became the team’s talisman in 2016-17, at the age of 20.

Moving on the 2015-16 season felt like old for the young Andre Silva as all fingers pointed he would feature more in the B-team than he will in the first, this was due to the fact he was ranked fourth on the the list of forwards available to then Manger Julien Lopetegui. As days went by chances of Andre featuring with the first team grew thinner, as Lopetegui acquired the services of two extra forwards, to bolster his side. With his seismic strength and power in front of goal, Silva scored 16 goals in 32 appearances. This earned the youngster several plaudits around Europe, and attracted the attention of AC Milan to go on and purchase the Portuguese forward.

MOVING TO MILAN/THE FALL FROM GRACE

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After scoring 24 goals for Porto in his 44 appearances for the first team, much was expected of the striker and his services at his new club. But Andre Silva struggled to adapt to the environment, and scored just 10 goals in 41 appearances. What could have been a bargain €38 million price tag was beginning to look more than lofty, and Andre Silva was unable to live up to the exceptionally high standards he set for himself as a youngster. Luckily for Silva, his career was not done and dusted there. Next to take a chance on the 6’1 striker was La Liga giant Sevilla, and Silva suddenly had a new country to adapt to.

RESCUE OPERATION SEVILLA

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Joining Sevilla appeared to be the breath of fresh air Andre Silva’s career needed.Starting off with a bang and a monstrous performance against Real Madrid proved to be his awakening in the country. But just like a flash, the phrase “Oh Darkness, My Old Friend” became Andre’s reality, as his goals eventually dried up. While he bagged 9 goals in the league and 2 in the cup, Silva failed to score any goals in Sevilla’s Europa League campaign that year, in eight appearances. That gave the Portuguese a final tally of just 11 goals in 40 games, making many wonder if Silva would ever turn into the player many thought he might when he started his career at Porto.

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

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September of 2019 proved to be the turning point for Andre Silva as he was included in a 2 year-loan swap with then Frankfurt star Ante Rebic, who went the other way to AC Milan.

It took little time for Andre to adapt to the technicalities of the Bundesliga, bagging 12 goals in his first 16 starts. It was a season-long performance that moved then Frankfurt manager Adi Hutter, into triggering his €2.7 million purchase option. Yes, let’s say that again – €2.7 million, for one of the Bundesliga’s best strikers. And this time, Silva did not slow down. In his second season in the league, the former Milan failure took his game to new heights – netting a remarkable 28 goals in 32 Bundesliga appearances. He even scored more than Erling Haaland (27 goals in 28 games), albeit with more appearances under his belt. Not only did he finish as the second-highest scorer in the league behind Robert Lewandowski, he broke a record for most Bundesliga goals scored in a single season by an Eintracht Frankfurt player. The record of 26, previously held by World Cup winner and club legend Bernd Hölzenbein, had stood since 1976-77 season. With that record-scoring season under his hood, it became inevitable that Silva was likely to be on the move again. We even broke down some of the best options for the Portuguese forward, including Manchester United, Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund -> The race to sign Andre Silva. Unfortunately for those clubs, it was Leipzig who secured his signature instead, for a fee in the region of €40 million. Frankfurt will be sad to let him go, but securing a fee of fifteen times the value they secured Silva’s signature for will certainly go over well, and allow them to purchase a new man of similar quality.

Apart from goal scoring, Andre Silva has shown over time that he has the ability to link play and aid progression of the ball with ease. Also Silva’s movement in and around the box will be key to his Leipzig team, who generate a ton of chances on a match by match basis. The threat he generates in transition play will also come in handy for Jesse Marsch’s side, as will his ability to press from the front. He fulfills a major whole in the side, as the likes of Dani Olmo, Emil Forsberg and Christopher Nkunku fulfilled roles as forwards last year to cope with the loss of Timo Werner to Chelsea the year before. Now, they can play all of those talented dribblers and creators in the wide areas where they are most comfortable, and utilize a big man up top who is gauranteed to score goals. With all this mind, Leipzig’s new head coach Jesse Marsch will hope to maximize the talent of Andre Silva and hopefully give Bayern Munich a fight in this season’s title race.

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