Monday September 10 2018
Silva still a stranger to Italy

Andre Silva has a point to prove with Portugal against Italy, as Richard Hall wonders where it went wrong for him at Milan.

As Andre Silva wheeled away in celebration after completing his debut hat-trick against Rayo Vallecano, many in Portugal, Spain and especially Italy, scratched their heads. The Portuguese forward had started his La Liga campaign by showing that he could fulfil the promise in him, but why could he not do this for the Rossoneri?

Why did a player with such obvious talent fail to make a mark in Serie A? This leads to the question of whether the Milanese moved him on to quickly, or was this union simply never going to work?

When Andre Silva scored three times on his debut for Sevilla, he must have thought he was dreaming. He had already surpassed his two-goal total in Serie A last term and already it looked like the Spanish club had a bargain. On loan from the Rossoneri, the 22-year-old has admittedly not played as well since against Villarreal or Real Betis, but he still is playing with confidence and will be fired up when Portugal host Italy in the Nations League this evening.

Silva arrived in Milan from Porto after netting 20 goals in 38 games over the 2016-17 season (in the league and Champions League) and was tipped as one of Europe’s bright young things. This was his first season and it was no surprise that Milan snapped him up. In contrast, when he left Milan for Spain in the summer, he looked back on a paltry two league goals in 24 games, but had a better Europe League record, netting six times in eight starts.

Silva is still very young, but as Milan spent huge amounts of money and tried to integrate a whole new team, he was still expected to lead the line. That’s a big ask for such a young man and the entire situation seemed to swallow him up.

Under Vincenzo Montella he was in and out of the team as the Milan mister struggled to find his best line up and that surely gave him no chance of consistent game time. This continued under Gennaro Gattuso, who also had him on and off the bench, and just seven starts in 17 league games tells the story. It was simply too much, too soon and he did not have time to adjust. Even so, that did not shield him from criticism from his new Coach.

After the Europa League defeat to Croatian minnows Rijeka, Gattuso fumed that the Milan shirt wasn’t given respect and singled out Silva. “We all know his value. For Portugal he always scores, but when he plays for Milan he must do more. He fought yes, but he looked like a foreign body. When you wear your Milan shirt, you have to respect it.” Perhaps Rino was seeing a lack of effort overall or a poor attitude but it did seem like a contradiction, as he admitted that Silva both fought and scored for his country, so what was wrong?

Silva certainly has all the ability to be one of Europe’s top strikers, but this doesn’t mean he can adapt to Serie A. Relationships on and off the field, pressure, style of play, better defenders and more technical and tactical opposition have put paid to many who come to ply their trade in Italy. Let’s be clear, the defending isn’t as good as when Dennis Bergkamp failed at Inter, but for a young boy in his second full season to be asked to lead Milan’s rebirth, you can see why this ended as it did.

Milan didn’t have the luxury of giving him time, as they needed to reach the Champions League and Nikola Kalinic’s failure perhaps scuppered Milan’s plan of taking some pressure off him. It looked bad when at one point in the season even Benevento’s goalkeeper had netted more than him (and against Milan).

There is still time for the young striker to be a success in Serie A. If he can have a good season in Spain, it will give him the confidence that he can cut it at the elite level and if he returns to Milan, Gonzalo Higuain will be potentially still shouldering the burden. There is little argument about whether he is good enough, it is more to do with how he is integrated and of course, perhaps a bit of luck wouldn’t go a miss. The Rossoneri have come on great strides again so far this summer and just maybe the Milan he comes back to will feel more like home.

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Have your say...

I did, and still that list doesn't make sense.
on the 11th September, 2018 at 10:35am
@ paolo Here here. At one stage Milan had this habit of selling their leading goal scorers at the end of each season! I actually think it went Balotelli, Menez and Bacca and I think Cutrone is the first leading scorer in a while not to be sold. Of course he’s been benched for another go at a star striker. That’ll teach him.
on the 10th September, 2018 at 10:12pm
of his players which is the key difference between success and failure. Gattuso might be a great manager. We simply don’t know. Let’s hope he is and if he’s not then hopefully we can move for Conte.
on the 10th September, 2018 at 10:08pm
@ Dami I’m not crticising Gattuso per se. At this stage I value stability but the pint is he should never have been appointed in the first place. The manager is the single most important person at the club. A great manager can win with an average side (Conte won a title with Vučinić and Quagliarella upfront). An average cannot win even with a great side. A great manager gets more out
on the 10th September, 2018 at 10:06pm
Letting Andre Silva go permanently is not good business.
Letting Locatelli leave to get Bakayoko in is not good business.
Letting Cristante go for 5m€, got van Ginkel on a one year LOAN. THIS IS NOT GOOD BUSINESS.
We are not good at business. We are very poorly managed for just about 15 years now. I hate everything that is milan management, i hate them all. The list of players not given enough time is endless, they all perform wonders for their clubs today. Worst managed business in the world.
on the 10th September, 2018 at 9:52pm
@viiktor why don’t you learn tto read AND comprehend. Then maybe you’ll understand the list.
on the 10th September, 2018 at 7:44pm
It is like a 15 year old kid is running the club the constant lack of patience milan always looking for a new striker to solve all the problems.

Seriously expect a kid to come over to a new league and start scoring loads of goals without keeping him in the first team on a regular basis without players who can provide assists it is embarrassing.

This is why you have a academy which produces cristante aubameyang verdi darmain petagna and none of them play for milan despite having the quality.
on the 10th September, 2018 at 6:46pm
It has been crazy milan strike force used to be set in stone shevchenko inzaghi and tommason since 2006

milan have had
el shar
maxi lopez
andre silva
and how higuain without counting academy players plus snap purchases like adiyiah plus the return of balotelli and shevchenko.
on the 10th September, 2018 at 6:39pm
@Maldini's Heir although I agree with most of what you're saying I find it unfair to criticise Gattuso in any way tbh. He's come in as a mostly untested coach and has done a better job than everyone we've had since Allegri. Conte has just come available at the wrong time tbh and bringing him in now would be counter productive. We have genuinely looked very good these first 2 gameweeks and Rino is key to that. Hope Silva flourishes whether he leaves or not, kid never got a chance.
on the 10th September, 2018 at 3:57pm
Silva needed more of a chance at Milan. He performed in EL but was never afforded a solid string of games in Serie A to find his feet domestically. Like Maldini's Heir said, Milan are all too willing to give the bench to a totally unproven manager year after year, but heaven forbid they put any real faith in a young, promising player (Gigio being a definite outlier to their usual habits).
on the 10th September, 2018 at 2:39pm

Suso, Cutrone, Kessie etc, what do they have to do with your list??
on the 10th September, 2018 at 10:25am

Are you just dropping players milan have had over the years and still have or whats your point?
on the 10th September, 2018 at 10:24am
reason all of our strikers have struggled to score in the past few years - the lack of service and pace in the side. Let's hope I'm wrong and Gattuso is the next Conte and Higuain will do what he did at Napoli and Juve. That way if Sevilla exercise their unilateral option to buy the player (love a good unilateral option) we won't miss out too much.
on the 10th September, 2018 at 6:41am
Last thing on this. With our needless transfers this summer and fear of playing two strikers, we managed to break up a potentially exciting partnership between Cutrone and Silva. The two players have everything you need from a strike partnership and showed in the Europa League how well they can play together. Instead Milan just had to get all excited about Higuain (if he fails to score these season I think that's conclusive proof that it's Milan that's the problem) while failing to address the
on the 10th September, 2018 at 6:34am
to give untried youth a go. If you're a player like say, Silva, you'll be benched in favour of the more experienced Kalinic. But on the actual bench we'll take a punt on a completely untried, untested Gattuso. I don't know whether Gattuso is the next Ferguson or Conte but the big difference is that the latter two both had success before they took over at bigger clubs. Milan seems to be the stepping stone for untested managers. And the result is players like Silva under-perform. No surprise.
on the 10th September, 2018 at 6:24am
1st to 10th to 1st to 5th in 4 seasons with pretty much the same squad. What's their level? Why does this player (say Bonucci) perform well for Juve and not for Milan? Or that player (say Biglia) perform well for Lazio and not for Milan? Why, why, why? Is the transfer market really the answer? Do we really need to find that player with a 80 rating on FIFA or is real life different to computer games? The most important person at a club is the manager and it's the one area that Milan is prepared
on the 10th September, 2018 at 6:18am
It's not that hard to fathom. Milan don't get the best out of their players. It's that simple. The majority of Milan players under-perform. The majority of Juve players over-perform. That's the difference between success and failure. When Ferguson retired Man Utd had won the title. The next season almost the exact same squad finished 7th. When Conte took over at Juve they had finished 7th. In his first season with some minor tweaks to the squad they finished an unbeaten 1st. Chelsea went
on the 10th September, 2018 at 6:12am
—> Pazzini
+ more.
...and those are just the fowards.
just a few important MIDS
Mastour > next greatest talent ? Yea ok.
Bertolacci’s all equating jack squat.
on the 10th September, 2018 at 5:40am
Look I’m not 100% sure but ACM barely gave this kid a chance. I remember all the hype surrounding the deal,and I was waiting to see what was going to happen next + all the other big $$ signings....every game I saw he barely played. Look basically in the past 4-5 horrible years Milan has had,plenty of talented big name young and older players come and go and used badly or sparingly and rotated (ESPECIALLY Fowards) to no success...then left or loaned out.
El Shaw
on the 10th September, 2018 at 5:15am
First off, I like Andre Silva but...
This narrative that he was signed to be Milan's savior is a media concoction I first saw from Portugal CT, Santos.
In fact, the whole summer Milan was chasing a bigger name for the exact same position in Auba and Belotti.
If anything, you could say Bonucci was to be Milan's savior.

If Milan signed 21 yr old Silva for a big sum and was thrust into position of leading Milan's attack, it was nothing to do with fans' expectation but Fassobelli incompetence.
on the 10th September, 2018 at 12:53am

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