The agents of Rafa Silva have opened talks with English clubs and Newcastle United are at the top of the player’s list, according a report in the print edition of yesterday’s Sunday Mirror (page 74).
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The 28-year-old was linked with a move to St James’ Park during Rafa Benitez’s time in charge of the club back in 2019.
Although a regular for the Lisbon giants during the 2020/21 campaign – starting 27 of their 34 league games – Benfica are believed to be willing to sell the player in an attempt to raise funds for their own signings.
Would Silva be a good signing?
In short, yes.
Only Allan Saint-Maximin averages more in the way of dribbles per game (3.8, via WhoScored), while his average of 1.5 key passes would see him rank first in Steve Bruce’s squad. Granted, translating that across leagues and playing styles isn’t an exact science but this is a Portuguese international to have played for a European giant on a regular basis, so would come with a respectable track-record.
With Newcastle struggling for attacking invention outside of Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson, he looks like he’d certainly be an upgrade on the rest of the supporting cast when looking at his underlying numbers. Indeed, that’s even without mentioning his nine goals and ten assists in 45 games across all competitions last season.
Is it likely to happen?
Sadly, probably not.
The report moots a £30m fee and, with the transfer budget reportedly (via Football Insider) likely to be depleted this summer, it’s hard to see Mike Ashley releasing those kind of funds. After all, Newcastle have only ever paid that kind of money once in their entire history and that was in a pre-pandemic market.
Unless there is a change in the kind of ambition shown by the Ashley regime (which looks incredibly unlikely as we approach 14 years of his ownership, it does seem unlikely that Newcastle would be able to afford players of such ilk.