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Manchester United to bring in Portuguese starlet this summer?

There has been endless speculation linking Manchester United with some of the most exciting names in world football even this far away from the summer transfer window, as is usually the case with a club like United. One name that has been mentioned more than the rest, however, is Antoine Griezmann. But now, it seems like United are considering other options, and one of those options is named Andre Silva.

A report by Calciomercato, via the Manchester Evening News, states that Jose Mourinho is looking to go back to his former club Porto in search of a new striker in the form of the 21-year-old Silva. The Portuguese striker is currently in his most prolific goal-scoring season of his career so far, averaging over a goal a game in all competitions, including five in ten Champions League matches, and is currently sitting joint third in the Portuguese league’s top scorers table with 15 league goals.

United are in dire need of offensive reinforcements if the numbers are anything to go by. They have been heavily reliant on Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score goals for them. His 28 goals are nearly three times the tally of United’s second highest goalscorer Juan Mata, as well as being 20 more than the nearest striker, Marcus Rashford.  United are also the lowest scoring of the Premier League’s top six teams.

However, there are some obstacles between United and the signing of Silva. First is that they are not alone in wanting the player. The report also mentioned that French sides Paris Saint-Germain, who has failed to replace the free-scoring Ibrahimovic following his departure to United, and AS Monaco are both also looking at Silva.

And another obstacle is the price tag Porto has slapped on him. The five-year deal Silva signed last summer also included a hefty €60 million release clause, and with the club’s record of forcing clubs to pay over the odds, with more recent examples being Danilo and Eliaquim Mangala fetching over €30 million each, clubs looking to sign Silva will need to at least come close to that clause. While the simple solution to this is for United to just pay the clause, but for so much money, would there be better value players to look at? Silva has only ever played in the Portuguese League, and while his goals stats are good, they haven’t been exceptional. It certainly wasn’t good enough to get him into Portugal’s Euro 2016 squad last summer, a squad that included Swansea City reject, and, granted, an unlikely hero, Eder. Silva hasn’t even been Porto’s top scorer this season, with Tiquinho scoring two more goals in two fewer appearances.

Silva has only ever played in the Portuguese League, and while his goals stats are good, they haven’t been exceptional. It certainly wasn’t good enough to get him into Portugal’s Euro 2016 squad last summer, a squad that included Swansea City reject, and, granted, an unlikely hero, Eder. Silva hasn’t even been Porto’s top scorer this season, with Tiquinho scoring two more goals in two fewer appearances.

Then there’s that price tag. That €60 million clause does pale in comparison to, say, Griezmann’s €100 million. But Griezmann has, in the last couple seasons, proven himself to be one of the most lethal forwards in world football. Silva has yet to prove himself of being worthy of his price tag, while Griezmann arguably has.

There is the argument of his youth. Of course, at Silva’s tender age of 21, there is still much to come. He can still become a fantastic striker who scores goals for fun. But United currently have two extremely talented attackers in Rashford and Anthony Martial, and neither are doing as well as expected. United need results more than anything from their next striker signing, especially if Ibrahimovic decides not to extend his stay at the club. Now is not the time for United to bring in more youth, and instead look for a more dependable finished product, and Silva doesn’t quite tick the latter box.

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