West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini isset to bolster his squad with the addition of Portugal youth international Xande Silva, according to reports.
Portuguese outlet Record states that West Ham have agreed a deal worth an initial £1.5m for the 21-year-old, which could rise to £3m – with Vitoria possessing a 10% sell-on fee clause.
Silva would become the Hammers’ eighth signing under Manuel Pellegrini this summer – but who exactly is he? We take a look.
What is his experience?
Signed from Sporting Lisbon in 2015, Xande Silva has been part of Vitoria’s first-team squad for the past three years but has found opportunities limited, earning 26 league appearances for the senior team and scoring one goal.
He has predominantly featured at youth level so far, accumulating 52 appearances for Vitoria’s B team and scoring four goals – which does not suggest he is prolific in the final third, although that is not the case at international level.
In 14 caps for Portugal’s U20 side, Silva has netted five goals – adding to the five he scored with the U19’s.
Where does he play?
Xande Silva’s favourite role is as a second striker, providing support to the attackers around him, but he is also capable of playing on the right side or leading the line – although his conversion rate in front of goal has to improve if he is to shine in the latter area.
While his age may suggest he is further down the development path than other young strikers, Silva still needs to be developed if he is to become a top-class asset and he would earn that with West Ham’s U23 side upon his arrival – where he could feature alongside compatriot Domingos Quina.
Will West Ham make more signings?
Manuel Pellegrini has already splashed the cash at the London Stadium so far this summer, drafting in seven new recruits, including expensive deals to land Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko and Issa Diop, but further acquisitions are likely.
“It depends which players will not continue in the club and also on the options we have to replace them, so the sporting director and myself as manager have to work very hard to be absolutely sure that we have the squad that we need for the Premier League.”
What can he provide West Ham?
Manuel Pellegrini’s lack of depth up front is no secret and the recent injury setback sustained by Andy Carroll could be a real problem, especially as Jordan Hugill is linked with an exit and Javier Hernandez struggled for form last season.
However, Xande Silva would not become an immediate first-team asset for Pellegrini and may instead prove to be a replacement for Toni Martinez in the U23 side, who caught the eye last season with 12 goals in 11 appearances.
Martinez spent the second-half of last season on-loan with Spanish second-division side Real Valladolid and could now push for further senior appearances under Pellegrini, having made his debut for the Hammers in an FA Cup tie with Shrewsbury Town in January.