Newcastle United Opinion: Magpies should go all out to sign Rafa Silva this summer
The Chronicle understands that manager Rafael Benitez is likely to add at least a single winger to his ranks at the end of the season if he signs a new contract at Tyneside, with Chelsea loanee Robert Kennedy set to return to his parent club in the summer.
Benfica’s Rafa Silva is one of the many widemen that the Magpies are currently keeping tabs on and the 25-year-old’s agent Antonio Araujo has confirmed interest from the north-east of England in his client, as put down by the Chronicle.
Whether or not Benfica are prepared to entertain offers below his release clause is something that remains to be seen but the Magpies would apparently need to smash the club-record fee that they shelled out for Miguel Almiron back in January.
Rafa Silva has been in sensational form for Benfica this season in the Primeira Liga, contributing with 15 goals and 2 assists from just 19 starts.
The 14-cap Portuguese international, who has represented his nation at 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 UEFA European Championship, is held in high regard at Benfica and a new and improved deal is very much around the corner for the 25-year-old, as confirmed by his agent. (h/t Chronicle)
The Euro 2016 winner is a versatile attacking midfielder, who can play on either side of the attack and also through the centre as a supporting striker. Blessed with the gift of low centre-of-gravity, Silva is noted for his pace, agility, sharpness and exceptional close control, which allows him to work his way past the opposition with effortless ease.
He combines his pace with his trickery and acceleration to cut inside from the flanks, where he either fancies a shot on goal or links up with his teammates to create chances.
Silva, however, is not only about pace, flair, athleticism and trickery, with his well-rounded passing abilities, vision and goalscoring prowess making him a more complete player. He knows how to create space for himself and has the speed of thought and the skill set to execute defence-splitting through balls.
To put things into perspective, Rafa Silva is undoubtedly a fine young player and he would be an instant upgrade on Newcastle’s existing options out wide, though it remains to be seen whether the Magpies continue to pursue an interest in the Portuguese ace after coming to know about his mammoth release clause.
However, if the move does materialize, Newcastle could have an absolute gem in their hands, as Silva is exactly the kind of player that they need to improve their supply lines.
The Magpies do have Christian Atsu but someone like Silva would be a massive upgrade on the Ghanaian, both in terms of quality on the ball and creativity. Club-record signing Miguel Almiron has shown strong signs of promise over the last couple of months, though he is yet to make a big impact in the Premier League.
Matt Ritchie has been used in a wing-back role more often than not but the former Bournemouth man has been one of the standout performers at Tyneside this season.
Newcastle, indeed, look a lot better with Almiron in their side but that should not stop them from signing Rafa Sila, as his versatility might prove to be a big asset to the club.
The Magpies have improved massively in the final third in the latter stages of the season, with Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon delivering the goods consistently.
Irrespective of whether the Magpies sign Rondon permanently from West Brom, they should look at Silva as someone who can form a wonderful trio with the likes of Perez and Almiron.
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Having successfully beaten the drop in the last two seasons, it is now time for Newcastle to get back to the upper echelons of the Premier League.
To do that, they need more top-quality players in their ranks and the daunting price tag of Rafa Silva is something that they need to start dealing with if they are to relive their past glory.