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Arsenal are keeping a close eye on Portuguese sensation Andre Silva who has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence with FC Porto.
The 20-year-old striker has already made a big impact this season, scoring five goals in seven appearances in the Primera Liga for the Dragons who tied the wonderkid down to a new five-year contract during the summer in order to deter potential suitors from making a bid. Silva’s new deal extended his buyout clause from £22 million to £52.8 million as Porto, who have been known to sell their best players over the years, have high hopes for the talented striker.
As reported by O Jogo (via The Mirror), Arsene Wenger sent scouts to Porto’s recent Champions League fixture at the King Power Stadium against Leicester to run the rule over Silva, and although the Foxes ran out 1-0 winners to make them favourites with Coral to finish top of Group G, the talented striker showed glimpses of his undoubted potential. Some believe it is only a matter of time before the Porto star breaks into the Portugal national team, as although they triumphed at Euro 2016, there has been a dearth of top quality strikers coming through since the days of Pauleta and Nuno Gomes.
It remains to be seen whether Wenger is willing to make a considerable outlay to bring Silva to the Emirates Stadium in January or next summer, particularly as the 66-year-old is not expected to stay on after his contract ends at the end of the season. Porto will demand the highest price possible for their hugely talented striker, but with Arsenal still lacking depth in that department, meeting the buyout clause for a player with the potential to become a real star may turn out to be a shrewd piece of business.
Andre Silva has already developed a fine reputation for scoring goals, with his superb start to the current season coming as no surprise to those who believe he has the technical belief and hunger to go a long way in the game. A fantastic brace, including a sublime overhead kick in injury time, marked his rise to prominence in the final of last season’s Taca de Portugal, and following an average of a goal a game during pre-season and a converted penalty on his Champions League debut in their play-off first leg against Roma, Silva has not looked back. It is hardly a surprise that Porto have acted swiftly to increase the striker’s buyout clause to ensure they do not lose yet another star player, but it will be interesting to see if Arsenal’s interest makes the 20-year-old interested in a move.
Strengthening the squad may be the port of call for Arsenal during the January transfer window, with recent injuries to Olivier Giroud and Lucas Perez leaving Wenger with Alexis Sanchez as the only fit first team striker at the club. The Chilean has certainly shown signs of returning to his best in recent weeks, but with the start of the FA Cup on the horizon, the potential of fighting on four fronts could leave Arsenal devoid of options if injuries, suspensions or fatigue begin to kick in. Coral certainly believe that the Gunners are amongst the favourites to prize back the cup from Manchester United’s hands, and now’s the time to get the best odds before Arsenal have kicked a ball in anger in the competition. Signing Andre Silva would certainly improve Arsenal’s FA Cup odds as the young star has proven he can deliver on the big stage, but although the club would have to break their transfer record to bring the 20-year-old to England, it would be a real indication that the Gunners are not only building for the future, but also serious about challenging for trophies this season.