Manuel Veth –
Eintracht Frankfurt were one of the busiest sides in the final weeks of the transfer window. On August 27 the club signed Dutch striker Bas Dost from Sporting to replace Sébastien Haller. But the club was not done there because on deadline day Frankfurt sent Ante Rebić on loan to Milan in exchange for André Silva.
It is a typical Fredi Bobić move. Like a gambler in an online casino the Eintracht Frankfurt sporting director moved around the pieces on deadline day trying to make a profit while at the same time strengthening his side.
“We have lost three top players,” Eintracht Frankfurt head coach Adi Hütter said this week to the German magazine kicker. Because in addition to Haller and Rebić the club also lost Luka Jović earlier this summer, the Serbian striker joined Real Madrid in a record deal.
Bobić, however, has always been honest about the possibility that all three strikers could leave the club. Rebić, in fact, already had offers last summer and for many the transfer to Milan was overdue.
At first glance, however, it appears that Frankfurt have not lost much in terms of quality. Bobić did well in bringing in Dejan Joveljić for Jović, even though the 20-year-old signing from Crvena Zvezda will need some time to develop, and in Daichi Kamada, Frankfurt have been given a new option in the number 10 role.
Adding and subtracting
Furthermore, Bas Dost managed to score in his first game for Frankfurt, highlighting that he still has a deadly instinct in the 18-yard-box. In André Silva Frankfurt now hope to have to find the final puzzle piece in replacing Frankfurt’s three-man attack from last season.
The 23-year-old Portuguese national team player has moved the other way from Milan to Frankfurt. It is an interesting construct Milan and Frankfurt have negotiated. Both Rebić and Silva join their new clubs on loan, and neither club has an option to buy.
A deal that could in some ways circumnavigate clauses in the contracts of both players? Frankfurt own Fiorentina 50% of any future transfer fee. Milan, in the meantime, paid €38 million for André Silva but still own Porto money in the form of bonuses.
It would explain why both clubs have opted to send their respective players out on loan in what is by any measures a swap deal. But what do Eintracht Frankfurt get in André Silva?
“In Ante, we are losing a player, who with his low gravity, dynamic and speed could hurt opponents,” Hütter said. Silva is a bit of a different player; the Portuguese striker lacks Rebić’s aggressiveness but is technically more gifted and has a better nose inside the box.
“Silva is a technical player with a good ability to read the game and is deadly with his right and left foot but also his head inside the box,” Hütter said. “I have seen many goals from him, he is a talented young player,” Hütter added.
Furthermore, Silva knows his new teammate Gonçalo Paciência from his time at Porto. “That will make it easier for me,” Silva said to this week. Another aspect is Dost, who has spent several seasons in Portugal.
What does André Silva add to Eintracht Frankfurt?
With the signing of André Silva, Eintracht Frankfurt have completely reconstructed their frontline. And once again, Hütter will have plenty of options to shuffle the board like there is plenty of baccarat strategies online.
But what exactly can André Silva add to the squad? When comparing the four forward players Silva, Dost, Joveljić, and Paciência what stands out is that all five have varying degrees of touches in the box. Joveljić was the most active box player with 4.9 touches per 90 minutes over the last calendar year in Serbia. Silva, in the meantime, is third in that category behind Paciência, who had 4.89 touches, with 3.56 touches inside the box.
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Instead, Silva likes to be more integrated into the passing game outside the box. Dost (76.67% completed passes per 90 minutes) and Silva (76.53%) have very similar pass completion rates.
The most important aspect, however, is goals and here Silva has somewhat struggled in Italy. Among all Eintracht Frankfurt strikers, André Silva is second with 11 overall goals scored behind Bas Dost (22). But with just 0.32 goals per 90 minutes, Silva ranks last in that category.
There is no doubt, however, that Silva has the tools to become a productive striker in the Bundesliga. Frankfurt have been a great club to resurrect careers, but Silva will have to put in the work rate required to become a success in Germany.
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.