Links between Andre Silva and Arsenal continue to gather momentum as the Gunners look to bolster their side ahead of the new season.
Reports suggest that the club have opened talks with German side Eintracht Frankfurt in a bid to try and seal a deal for the attacker, yet his participation in Euro 2020 with Portugal suggests any move may still be a couple of weeks away.
He’d be worth the wait though after a standout campaign in the German Bundesliga firmly put him on the radar for a number of top European sides.
The Eintracht Frankfurt forward finished the season having scored 28 Bundesliga goals – only Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski could better that return.
In terms of his profile, the 25-year-old stands at a decent 6ft foot and possesses good technical skill, dropping into pockets when required to link with teammates or playing on the last shoulder of a defence, primed to make penetrating runs in behind.
His capacity to convert chances but also create them does open the door for Mikel Arteta to utilise him in different ways next season.
For the bulk of the last campaign, Arteta lined his team up in 4-2-3-1 formation with Alexandre Lacazette playing through the middle as his preferred centre-forward.
Whilst it was a formation that suited some opponents, it didn’t always look the most efficient against others, resulting in predictable and sometimes unyielding Arsenal performances.
This led to accusations that the Spanish coach was too tactically rigid and raised doubts amongst some sections of the Arsenal fan base about what direction the club were going under him.
In defence of what proved to be a difficult campaign, Arteta stated in an interview with Sky Sports back in May that for both changes and improvements to be made, the squad would need changing.
He said: “The squad needs changing. There were already a lot of changes in December, something that has not been done in years, but it tells us where we were. Things are going to have to change and the owners are going to back it up.”
The signing of Silva could well be the key to opening the door to make some of these tactical changes, with his skill set meaning he could play a number of different roles in the Gunners’ attack.
At Eintracht Frankfurt last season, he often played as the main centre-forward in adaptations of a 3-4-3/3-4-2-1 formation.
Arteta did experiment with a three-at-the-back formation at certain stages of the last campaign, and it’s possible that we could see the same again, with Silva spearheading an Arsenal attacking trio.
The benefit of using the above set-up would be that it’s a formation Silva is well-accustomed to and he’s already proven he can be ruthlessly effective within it. But the same also allows for a number of Arsenal’s key players to feature within the starting lineup too.
Of course on occasions, a two-up-top formation may be better suited either to overcome a specific opponent or if Arteta feels like Silva would benefit from having an attacking partner alongside him, such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Lacazette.
If Frankfurt veered away from their usual 3-4-3/3-4-2-1 formation, then it was more often than not to a 3-4-1-2 set up. Therefore, Silva is again well versed playing within an attacking duo and can prove equally as ruthless as part of one for Arsenal.
Ultimately then, not only is Silva a forward of the highest calibre but he’s also got a versatility to his game that would allow Arteta to adjust his team in a number of ways without risking hindering the 25-year-old’s attacking talents, therein adding an extra level of appeal to an already exciting potential transfer.