When Milan signed Andre Silva in 2017, the talented youngster was tipped to be a future star for the Rossoneri as they looked to help him fulfil his potential.
The Portuguese forward arrived off the back of an impressive stint with Porto, scoring 24 goals in 58 appearances for the senior side across two campaigns, while he was making a big impression with the national team too with his record currently standing at 15 goals in just 33 caps.
There is little doubt that he’s a talented player, and still only aged 23, he has time on his side to prove his agent, Jorge Mendes, right when he claimed that Silva would become one of the top forwards in football.
“He can become one of the best strikers in the world, he has everything to be so,” Mendes confidently told Sky Sport Italia after Silva joined the Rossoneri. “He’ll certainly be the best player in Italy in the next few years.”
That didn’t quite work out as planned in the 2017/18 campaign, as Silva managed just 10 goals in 40 appearances, which in turn led to his loan spell with Sevilla last season. He showed glimpses of his class in a Milan shirt at times, but a lack of consistency and competition for places saw him play a bit-part role.
Now, it appears as though he’s edging closer to a permanent departure, with La Gazzetta dello Sport claiming that he’s set to join Monaco in a €30m deal.
It’s added that will result in a capital gain of around €10m for the Rossoneri, while those funds will likely be reinvested back into the squad to bring in targets better suited to coach Marco Giampaolo’s plans.
Right move to offload Silva or should have had second chance?
Naturally, it’s clear now that Silva didn’t do enough in pre-season training to convince the Milan boss of his ability to fit into his preferred 4-3-1-2 system, where he would likely predominantly play as a support striker alongside Krzysztof Piatek.
Giampaolo insisted at his presentation press conference earlier this month that he would assess the options at his disposal and wouldn’t rush key decisions on incoming or outgoing players.
With that in mind, it’s likely that Silva was given his opportunity to impress, but ultimately it doesn’t look as though he’s considered functional for the role that he would be given this coming season.
On one hand it looks likely to be the end of a disappointing spell with Milan, as he failed to reach the heady expectations put on his shoulders and now it’s a case of wrong place, wrong time and wrong coach for him as he won’t get a second chance to prove his worth in Italy.
Paolo Maldini and the management appear to be fully behind Giampaolo in that sense as they’ve bought into his preferred tactical set-up and style of play, and as seen with the arrivals of Rade Krunic and Theo Hernandez thus far, it’s about bringing in the right players for specific roles rather than looking to make marquee signings for the sake of it.
As noted by MilanNews reporter Anto Vitiello, Ismael Bennacer arrived for his medical on Monday, and it’s certainly an exciting time for fans as we look forward to seeing the changes implemented by Giampaolo as he looks to give us a clear identity and an exciting, attacking style of play.
Sadly for Silva, it doesn’t seem as though he’s part of that vision. Given his technical quality, creative ability and eye for goal, there was still a case to be made that he could be a key figure in the Milan squad this coming season to support Piatek and play that support role.
Further, some may have argued that he deserved another shot in Italy, as ultimately moving to a new country at a young age and having to adapt to a new environment, culture and squad would have been difficult for him. Having had the previous experience to draw upon, he may have come good in his second year in Milan.
However, Giampaolo has his own plans and it will be a case of what could have been for the Portuguese international as he looks to prove his worth and fulfil his potential in France next season onwards, while we wait to see who will be tasked with being the perfect partner for Piatek.