Portuguese international forward André Silva admits that he is still unsure of his long-term future at club level, as he prepares for Sevilla’s Europa League last-32 clash with Lazio in Rome this week.
The 23-year-old returns to Italy on Thursday for the first time since leaving Milan last summer, after a frustrating season at the San Siro following a high-profile move from Porto in 2017. Silva joined Sevilla on loan ahead of this season but has confessed he remains unsure where he will settle at the end of the current campaign.
Sevilla have an option to make Silva’s switch permanent, with Sporting Director Joaquin Caparros insisting that the Portuguese would stay with the club “for many seasons” back in November. However, Silva has hinted that he has unfinished business in Milan and suggested he would be open to a return if he could be assured more playing time.
“If I’m asked to choose between playing as a starter at Sevilla or going back to Milan without playing, my preference is obvious,” Silva told Gazzetta Dello Sport. “However I’m in the middle of two situations: I’m fine here and I’m a Milan player. I’m not thinking about my future, otherwise I get distracted.”
Having joined Milan for €38m from Porto, Silva was given just seven league stars last season at San Siro, being named on the bench for every other game in Serie A. His return of two goals represented a frustrating campaign for the young striker, who has already fared better in Spain with nine goals from 22 outings for Sevilla.
“The most important thing for a player is to feel confident and at Sevilla I have felt that from the start,” Silva said, suggesting he could have been given more support in Italy. “Do I miss Italy? Yes. Even if the past has passed, things could’ve gone differently. Football isn’t an individual sport. You can have expectations, but you’re not alone and others must help you or at least try to.
“Are Milan following me? Yes, they send me messages and tell me I’m doing a good job. Moreover, I’m an investment for them. I have many friends there and when they went to Seville for their game at Betis, I went to their hotel to greet them.”
“The present impacts the future”
Although Silva has struggled somewhat to replicate the goalscoring form of the early stages of the season, with three goals for Los Rojiblancos since the end of September, he remains a key figure for Pablo Machin’s side. Yet until the move is made permanent, questions will continue over where Silva will be playing his football next season.
“I’m happy [with how Milan are doing]. They’re fourth, despite fighting with some great teams, and that’s the main objective,” Silva said. “They also beat Napoli in the Coppa Italia, so that’s great too. I hope they keep going like this.
“Milan aren’t what they were a few years ago, but they can go back to being great and I hope they do. I want to do well here first and then wait... If it was up to me, I’d go and play for the best team in the world.
“If Sevilla sign me then it’s because they have faith in me and think I can do well, but it’s still too early. I haven’t done anything yet.
“The present will ultimately impact on the future. I just want to play and be happy.”
On the Europa League, Lazio await the 5-time winners of the competition and Silva concedes that his team face one of the more difficult opponents they could have met at this stage of the competition. “Of all the teams we could’ve drawn Lazio are one of the strongest, but we’ll go to Rome to win,” he said.
“Here at Sevilla you can breathe the passion for the Europa League. They’ve put the five they’ve won in plain sight at the stadium. They value the Europa League a lot.
“[Lazio] are a strong team who play well against the big sides and I remember them as a complex team from last season. We need to do our best to beat them.”
By Sean Gillen