Who is Adrien Silva? Tottenham transfer target assessed
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 14/07/17 12:22pm
Could Tottenham make Adrien Silva their first summer signing?
Reports in England and Portugal claim Spurs want to bring the Sporting Lisbon and Portugal midfielder to the Premier League.
What type of player is he and what would he bring to Tottenham? We take a look...
- Name: Adrien Silva
- Age: 28
- Position: Midfielder
- Nationality: Portuguese
- Former clubs: Maccabi Haifa, Academica (both loan)
Training with Chelsea
Born in France to a Portuguese father and French mother, Silva first began training with Bordeaux before moving to Portugal and signing for Sporting.
But his fledgling association with the club almost ended prematurely when Silva found himself at the centre of a FIFA transfer dispute.
The midfielder, aged 15 and accompanied by Portugal U16 team-mates Ricardo Fernandes and Fabio Ferreira, was scouted by Chelsea and invited to train with the club.
Sporting filed a complaint and Chelsea dropped their interest, and while Fernandes and Ferreira eventually signed for Chelsea anyway, Silva stayed put.
Silva first broke into the Sporting first team as an 18-year-old but struggled to find consistency, leading to loan spells with Maccabi Haifa and Academica.
His stay in Israel was short-lived but he starred upon his return to Portugal, helping Academica to beat his parent club Sporting in the Portuguese Cup final.
It was Academica's first major trophy in 73 years and Silva was swiftly recalled the following season.
He won Sporting's Player of the Year award in 2013 and scored a career-best 10 goals the next campaign as Sporting lifted the Portuguese Cup for the first time since 2008.
Since named club captain, he signed a contract extension in 2016 that reportedly includes a €45m (£40m) release clause.
Nearly joined Leicester
Leicester, fresh from winning the Premier League title, plotted a double raid on Sporting last summer, targeting Islam Slimani and Silva.
And the midfielder looked set to join his striker team-mate when Silva appeared to confirm a move to the King Power in Portuguese newspaper O Jogo.
He said: "I can confirm this proposal. Leicester is very interesting and corresponds to my career goals.
"After the past 15 years at Sporting, this opportunity is something exceptional for me and can allow me to express and impose myself in another championship, and also to evolve in the Premier League, which is a stunning league."
But, in the hours leading up to Deadline Day, a Sporting club statement shot down any chance of a switch and urged Silva to respect the contract he signed in February 2016.
In this battle between club and player, the club won. Slimani joined Leicester but Silva remained in Portugal.
Silva opted for Portugal despite eligibility for France and was a regular youth international before earning his first senior call-up in 2014.
That came under Fernando Santos, who also selected Silva for Euro 2016 in the country of Silva's birth.
The Sporting captain was an unused substitute as Portugal squeezed into the knockout stage, drawing all three of their group games.
But called into the line-up for the last-16 clash against Croatia, he impressed in the extra-time victory and kept his place as Portugal beat Poland, Wales and France on their way to winning their first major tournament.
Style of play
Looking back to Euro 2016, his performance against Croatia sums up his key attributes.
Santos sacrificed Joao Moutinho's creative vision for Silva's pragmatic approach and it paid off as the Sporting star successfully shackled Luka Modric.
It was further evidence his boundless energy and appetite for hard graft has not diminished since he broke into the Sporting team as a youngster.
One of his first eye-catching displays actually came in a gritty goalless draw in the Lisbon derby back in 2009, when a 20-year-old Silva helped snuff out a talented Benfica team boasting Angel Di Maria, Ramires, Pablo Aimar and Javier Saviola.
That day Silva won plaudits in several Portuguese newspapers for covering more than 10km, the highest total of any Sporting player.
What they said
Speaking in May, Sporting coach Jorge Jesus accepted one of his key players - William Carvalho, Rui Patricio or Silva - would leave over the summer.
"It is possible I will be without one of them," he said. "The clubs that buy come to get the best players, not the ones on the bench.
"If it has to be, then so be it. It has happened to other clubs in the past."
Former Sporting captain Delfim said: "It is the second time Adrien wants to leave, all the conditions are met for a friendly exit - the age of the player, what he has achieved, what Sporting has taken from him."
What he said
Asked about a Premier League move during the recent Confederations Cup, Silva said: "I am concentrating on doing our best for Portugal at the moment. I am only concerned in reaching another final. Full stop."