Luca Bruno/Associated Press
Barcelona have reportedly scouted AC Milan striker Andre Silva, while defender Thomas Vermaelen is said to be happy to stay at Camp Nou for the rest of the season.
According to Mundo Deportivo (via Football Italia), director Robert Fernandez watched Silva during Portugal’s FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifying win over Andorra on Saturday.
The 21-year-old assisted Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal’s opener, before adding a second in a 2-0 victory that keeps alive their hopes of automatic qualification for the World Cup.
Silva’s form for Portugal in qualifying has been exemplary, as noted by Squawka:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Andre Silva has been involved in 9 goals in his last 9 World Cup qualifying games.
8 goals ⚽️
1 assist 🅰️
The future is in safe hands. https://t.co/D24r1uuhp9
The forward joined AC Milan from Porto over the summer, and while he is yet to open his Serie A account, he has four goals in two appearances in the Europa League, per WhoScored.com.
Barcelona could be considering future centre-forward options with Luis Suarez set to turn 31 in January, while Paco Alcacer’s career at the club appears to be over, per Diario Gol (h/t the Daily Star‘s Alex Wood).
Silva appears to be one of the brightest rising stars in Europe. He is a good finisher, able to link well with team-mates and is also strong in possession.
If he can develop his obvious potential at San Siro, he could become an option for Barcelona and would inject some youth into their attack.
Meanwhile, Vermaelen has backtracked on recent comments that he was not allowed to leave Camp Nou in the summer, despite interest from elsewhere, according to Mundo Deportivo (via Sport Witness).
In a recent interview with La Derniere Heure, Vermaelen said, “I didn’t have a choice but to stay.”
However, according to the report, Vermaelen is happy at Barcelona: “Either he didn’t express himself well or what he said in his interview wasn’t understood.”
Amel Emric/Associated Press
Vermaelen is yet to make a single appearance for Barcelona this season but did start for Belgium in their 4-3 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday in World Cup qualifying.
The Belgian is behind Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano in the pecking order at Camp Nou, making his chances of seeing much first-team action this season fairly slim.