It’s always a treat to see a player with loads of potential find their best form after moving to a new club. For Andre Silva, that’s been the exact case at Eintracht Frankfurt this term.
Just four seasons ago, the Portuguese striker was trying to break through at AC Milan, making only 24 appearances, with seven being starts.
Silva managed to bag a measly two goals during that span, leaving the Serie A giants scratching their heads as to why they spent €38 million to bring him in from Porto.
But, the transition from Primeira Liga to Italy wasn’t an easy one. His poor form eventually led to a loan spell at Sevilla, where the youngster saw regular minutes in the starting eleven.
Silva scored nine goals in 27 appearances, then returned to Milan for the following season. But, it was brief. One appearance later, the Portugal international was gone on a two-year loan spell to Germany.
Needless to say, it was the start of something special. Silva hit the ground running, scoring 12 goals in 25 fixtures for the Eagles in the 2019/20 campaign.
Was that once lethal finisher from Porto back? Could this be where Silva really thrives and finds his best?
Fast forward to now, and the answer is a massive yes. The 25-year-old is one of the most clinical finishers in the Bundesliga, netting a mind-boggling 24 goals in just 28 games.
Silva even inked a permanent three-year deal with Eintracht in September, securing his future at the club.
He’s currently second in the goal-scoring race to Robert Lewandowski, who’s netted 35 times.
The Frankfurt star is also one of the sole reasons that Adi Hutter’s men are currently in the running for a Champions League spot, and if they qualify, it would be the first time they feature in Europe’s most prized competition since the 1959/1960 season.
But what exactly makes him so special?
A true central striker
It’s certainly not easy to find a front-man who can literally get goals in every way possible in the final third. But in Silva, that’s exactly what the Eagles have.
Blessed with terrific pace, Silva is more than capable of beating opposing defenders with his legs and running onto precise through balls from playmakers Filip Kostic or Daichi Kamada.
In fact, every single one of his goals this season have come inside of the box, which is the prime example of a stereotypical striker.
Silva is also truly two-footed. He’s able to finish with either boot, no matter the angle or difficulty of the shot. Just as any number nine should be, he is the ultimate opportunist as well.
The anticipation that he possesses is second to none and is a crucial reason Silva finds the back of the net at such a high rate, whether it’s being at the right place at the right time to receive a pass in the box or poach goals at the doorstep of an opposing keeper.
Another essential trait of a true striker is being able to bag goals in the air. Although he’s not the biggest player, Silva is more than capable of scoring with his head, as he’s done on numerous occasions this term.
2020/21 has already seen him break a personal record, bettering his previous career-best of 16 goals in a single campaign for Porto.
But along the way, Silva is just two tallies shy of shattering Frankfurt legend Bernd Hölzenbein’s 26 goals in 1976/1977, which is the most by any Eagle in a single season.
Although it won’t be the main focus, it’s truly remarkable that Silva is on the brink of making club history in only his second year at Commerzbank-Arena.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s successor
It’s no secret that Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t getting any younger, and Portugal will eventually need to rely on another striker to produce consistently for the country.
Although they already have boatloads of talent from the likes of Diogo Jota to Joao Felix, Andre Silva looks to be one of the next prolific finishers for the Portuguese.
“When I retire, Portugal will be in good hands because they’ve already found a great striker: Andre Silva,” Ronaldo said in the summer of 2017. “He’s doing a phenomenal job, and not just thanks to his goals.”
Silva’s top form currently is an absolute delight for the Selecao as they head into the European Championships this summer. He definitely looks to be a key part of their title defence from 2016.
Destined for a big move?
Andre Silva has been linked to numerous European giants over the last couple of months, with Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and even Manchester United reportedly interested in his services.
There’s reportedly an intriguing buy-out clause in Silva’s Frankfurt deal, which could allow him to leave the club for €30m this summer, according to Sport1.
However, Silva’s agent has insisted that is false, which makes it hard to know if he really would be able to depart.
Nonetheless, the deal runs out in 2023. Another season or two at Eintracht would likely do wonders for the Portuguese star as he continues to develop.
After all, the Bundesliga is known for nurturing some of Europe’s hottest talents, and at this rate, Silva is shaping up to be the next.
Once an afterthought at the San Siro and now one of the brightest stars in Germany. The journey has just kicked off for Silva, but he has it started with a bang.