Long before Portuguese football became associated with Cristiano Ronaldo, it was a Centre forwards factory which had produced the likes of Falcao, Saviola and Pauleta. Youth academies reluctance to go for the stereotype forward and world’s football market interested in more versatile players Portuguese forward factory started falling.
In this dystopia, it was a blessing when a 20-year old Porto academy graduate erupted in the scenes. Andre Silva is a modern footballer with the attributes of classical striker.
Who is André Silva?
Andre Silva was making headlines in age groups. After the successful U-20 Euros, he made headlines when he scored match saving overhead kick for Porto in Portuguese cup final. His stardom further escalated when he became first player in this era after Cristiano Ronaldo to score a hat trick for Portugal. Arsenal watched him in action against Leicester city and is supposed to fill void created by Robin Van Persie.
Born in Baguim do Monte, a small village in the north of Portugal, on the 6th November 1995, André Miguel Valente da Silva started playing football as a youngster at local clubs. He started his youth career at Salgueiros. After a brief spell with Boavista he returned to Salguerios before moving to Padroense. At the age of 15, in 2011, Silva signed for FC Porto juniors. A Portugal international, Silva has represented A Selecao das Quinas at every youth level.
Style of Play
A typical right-footed centre-forward with deadly instinct, Andre Silva has a strong physique but a refined playing style, leavened by a sure touch and excellent technique. He is an excellent dribbler and he likes to play the ball off the ground. His game suits well for playing long balls and he is good in doing layoffs as well.
Although a lethal striker, Andre Silva, has been deployed more often as an offensive midfielder or a winger. This definitely played a huge role in his footballing identity, enabling him to be a complete striker, not just capable of scoring but also creating. He can play in classic number 9 as a centre forward and also in the flanks as winger.
Blessed with well-built body, Silva can stand strong against toughest of centre-backs. Intelligent positioning and his guile means, Silva regularly finds himself in goal scoring opportunities. Skilful and sharp, Silva also has a beautiful link-up play and is capable of spotting a pass. Comfortable with head as well, last season he had the best shots-per-game in Portugal. He performs well in either of flanks as well.
His crossing ability is well praised and Porto Coach Nuno Espirito Santo has regularly used him out wide. His dribbling ability is also well praised and due to his well-built body and skills he is capable of taking down any defender in 1 v 1 situation.
What are his Weaknesses?
As every young forward suffers, Andre Silva is also victim of inconsistency. And he is not that good with his weaker left foot. The player also often over-does the 1 v 1 so as to lose the battle against imposing defenders. Also, because of his isolated positioning, he tends to roam aimlessly for the ball. As a consequence he becomes less of the threat than he can be.
He has the quality to become the flag-bearer of Portuguese footballer, but he needs to be patient and work hard to function with both feet.
Can he survive the Premier League?
Even since Robin Van Persie was lured way from The Emirates, Arsenal fans have been waiting for another talismanic striker. In Andre Silva, they might get the style, grace and efficiency of a classical striker. Sharp and well positioned, the Porto man is capable of of making life extremely hard for Premier League centre-backs. With proper tactics, he can be a sure shot success in Premier League.