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Tuesday August 6 2013
Silvestre – a gamble worth taking

The arrival of Matias Silvestre at Milan may be a winning gamble for the Rossoneri, as Lorenzo Vicini explains.

“I had nothing against Parma and Genoa – I thank the two clubs for the interest shown, but I was hoping for a high level solution. And luckily, Milan remembered me. I couldn’t have hoped for more…I’m here to respond to their trust with facts.”

When Milan swooped in to sign Silvestre from rivals Inter several days ago, it gave the defender from Mercedes, Argentina, a second chance – a chance to prove that he belongs in a top team. Always the shrewd businessman, Galliani only spent €1m for the loan deal and negotiated a fixed purchase price of €4m. The Rossoneri are placing a smart bet that the defender can recover the form that made him one of Serie A’s most valuable defensive commodities only a couple of years ago.  

It would be too easy to label Silvestre’s tenure at Inter as a flop, and indeed, it was. Yet, that term could just as easily have been applied to practically any player of Andrea Stramaccioni’s Inter. Expected to fight for a starting spot, Matias was unable to force his way into the team, ending up as the fourth choice central defender behind Andrea Ranocchia, Juan Jesus and Walter Samuel.

To make matters worse, Silvestre, like many of his teammates, suffered through two separate injuries that shelved him for two months total between the end of February and May. Had he managed to stay healthy, there was a good possibility he would have seen more action given Walter Samuel was out with an Achilles’ problem.

Nonetheless, Silvestre was limited to a grand total of nine appearances in Serie A and nine more in the Europa League. His showings were average at best and he hardly resembled the confident defender who had played brilliantly for Catania and Palermo. It cemented claims that Matias performs well for a provincial side, but he is just not cut out for a top club. He buckled under the pressure and expectation that comes with joining one of Serie A’s elite teams.

So, did Milan make a poor move to sign him? An examination of the player’s past in the Italian top flight quickly dispels that notion.

Making his way over to the peninsula from Argentine giants Boca Juniors, Silvestre began his career in Italy with Catania. During his three seasons with the Elefanti, Silvestre developed into one of the better stoppers in the League. He possessed a physical style, strong in the air and had good footwork, an attribute attested to his earlier days playing as a midfielder.    

By the summer of 2011, Silvestre was ready to move up the ladder. When Palermo signed him for €7.3m, the Rosanero beat out competition from other top sides in Serie A. The South American had an immediate impact at the club and was immovable from the starting lineup. His eye for goal was an added bonus as he led Serie A in scoring as a defender for the second year in a row. After the campaign, he made the jump to Inter, who acquired him for €8m.

Now at Milan, Silvestre joins a club that is already thin at the back. With Philippe Mexes and Cristian Zapata as the preferred duo and Daniele Bonera out for two to three months due to a fractured patella, Matias benefits from an opportunity to showcase his talents with less pressure given the nature of his transfer. He is a great, low-cost option for Milan’s backline and brings a wealth of Serie A experience that a young player like Jherson Vergara cannot provide. His tactical awareness and positioning should fit in nicely with Allegri’s style and his ability to score goals is an added bonus.

It’s a potential win-win situation for the club. If Silvestre does not pan out, Milan will only lose the money paid to loan him while saving the €4m it would cost to purchase him outright. Should he thrive in his new surroundings, though, Silvestre will be just another smart gamble at a low price that paid off for Galliani and Milan.  

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Have your say...
Silvestre wasnt 4th choice CB at Inter - Chivu , Cambiasso and even the ball boy were chosen ahead of him when there were injuries to Ranocchia , Samuel and Jesus.
on the 6th August, 2013 at 2:34pm
I have a good feeling about him. I think he will do well here.
on the 6th August, 2013 at 2:26pm
Inter are the most ridiculously run club i have ever seen and the club that tends to benefit from it the most is usually Milan.
I don't see why Silvestre shouldn't become the next Cannavaro or Pirlo especially under Allegri and if Milan end up winning some silverware with Silvestre, Balo, Pazzo and Muntari in their squad im sure Milan will be happy to send a few Champagne bottles to their black and blue neighbors
on the 6th August, 2013 at 2:25pm
When i see silvestre i see a 12 month pass for milan to get the young defender it really needs and possibly afford to buy in the 2014 season.

At best he could perform and replace bonera at the end of the season at the worst milan could send him back to inter and spark mass suicide amongst the inter faithful.

In terms of finances 1 million euros maybe a extra 4 million euros with a wage demand of 1.5 million euros pretty acceptable for a 4th choice cb. not a deal in my mind
on the 6th August, 2013 at 2:12pm
Maldini's heir already said the words that need to be said.
on the 6th August, 2013 at 1:56pm
Galliani is still looking for cover for Thiago Silva and his supposed replacement Acerbi was not adequate for Milan so they went out and got Silvestre :) My Theory of "anyone with a hole and a heartbeat can play CB for AC milan" holds water I mean look at this list Mexes-Bonera-Zaccardo-Zapata they are all anchors. Does anyone remember Zamparini saying "I let him go because he lets in too many goals" obviously Galliani didn't and he's going to learn the hard way. he makes 3mill a year? thats SAD
on the 6th August, 2013 at 1:55pm
Milan has become a bin dipping club. Maybe they'll pick up Schelotto from our garbage can as well.
on the 6th August, 2013 at 1:47pm
If the Milan clubs could sort themselves out then Serie A would begin to regain some of it's former glamour with Juve, Inter, Milan, Napoli, Roma, Fiorentina all having competitive sides in the league, Champions League and the ever increasing in importance due to Coefficients Europa League. Fiorentina/Roma are not far off having squads capable of competing in Serie A and winning the EL
on the 6th August, 2013 at 1:20pm
It's frustrating to see what's happening in Serie A. You have Juve who are building a European heavyweight team/club in general, Fiorentina, Napoli and even Roma who seem to be investing significant amounts of money, but the majority of signings are intelligent.

Then you have two of the traditional giants of Italian football in Inter, and Milan seemingly doing all they can to bring the standard of the league down, and wasting money on players they don't need,or who aren't good enough.
on the 6th August, 2013 at 1:18pm
@faruq-interisti, we'll keep your words :D
on the 6th August, 2013 at 1:07pm
@faruq-interisti, we'll keep your words :D
on the 6th August, 2013 at 1:05pm
It is a decent cover at a very low price and risk. No doubt. But I won't go as far as calling it a good deal for Milan, because they need a top starting CB, not a punt at decent back up CB available on a discount!
on the 6th August, 2013 at 1:01pm
I cannot help but think that the writer of this article would have ridiculed Inter if Silvestre had signed for them from AC Milan. Considering that Inter is a mess right now, you would think that they would not have parted with this player, especially to their arch-rival, if he were any good.

The fact is that AC Milan, just like every other Italian team except for Juventus and Napoli, is now a team that shops in the bargain basement. They are just a more glamorous version of an Ajax.
on the 6th August, 2013 at 12:45pm
Yes, Milan could do with a better defender, but, this is a wise move becuase he is expereinced and has potential to improve. We all know he is talented and capable.

For those who do not remember - Cannavaro flopped at Inter......

And then previous players who switched from Inter to Milan: Pirlo / Seedorf / Baresi.....

Sometimes Inter do not always get the best place out of even the greatest players. In recent time, they should have kept hold of Balotelli, Santon, Destro.....
on the 6th August, 2013 at 12:11pm
@ Faruq perhaps Milan will do for Silvestre what they did for Pirlo, Seedorf, Simic, hopefully Poli and the other players who failed to reach their potential at Inter. In fact the fact that he flopped at Inter and not another club actually gives me a sense of hope.
on the 6th August, 2013 at 12:07pm
I agree with the article. Some of the reactions from Milan fans on Twitter etc when we were linked with him were laughable.
on the 6th August, 2013 at 11:25am
Silvestre was being tipped to an Italy call up not long ago should he have switched from Argentina..but then he went to Inter a poor side with a joke manager Stramaconni? I cant remember his name needless to say his 15 minutes of fame are over, now at Milan im sure he will flourish and get back to his best, potentially one of the best moves of the summer t get him for free.
on the 6th August, 2013 at 11:01am
The signing off Silvestre (who is clearly going to be used as cover) just confirms that Milan are very happy with defenders like Mexes, Bonera and Zaccardo (I will leave out Zapata and the young Vergara who did get caught on the ball twice against Sao Paulo). I am not necessarily happy with those defenders. We can wait to see how we get on this season with that defence. I hope I am wrong. Evidence in the pre-season friendlies suggests otherwise.
on the 6th August, 2013 at 10:56am
I said previously I was going to stop complaining and get on with supporting Milan. I would however comment that you have to question Milan's priorities. They seemingly have money to make offers for another (admittedly very promising) forward in Ljajic and another (admittedly very promising) attacking midfielder in Honda but two players who will also crowd out other players. Meanwhile they are not willing to invest properly in the defence.
on the 6th August, 2013 at 10:53am
As an Inter supporter, i cannot but laugh at Galliani for sparing us from this horrible mess. Silvestre was not just poor last year, he was abysmal. If Milan somehow make him into an international-class defender, I will be convinced that Galliani is a witch doctor.
on the 6th August, 2013 at 10:30am
I love how you conveniently left out the fact that Milan lost out on Ogbonna, their number 1 target.

Milan's defense is clearly their weakest suit (even worse than their joke of a midfield) yet their answer to their defensive woes is....Silvestre!?

If this article makes Milanisti feel better, so be it but don't make it seem like this was the plan all along & how this could be some sort of a miracle buy because it isn't.

Milan are in trouble & there's no sugarcoating that fact.
on the 6th August, 2013 at 9:56am

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