Wolverhampton Wanderers were dealt another blow to their quest for European football when Bruno Lage’s side were beaten 1-0 by Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Friday night.
Chris Wood’s penalty in the 72nd minute made the difference between the two teams, with Wolves now three points off sixth place with Manchester United playing this midday.
The visitors were far inferior to their hosts, with Lage’s men registering just five shots all night, two of which were on target, compared to Newcastle’s 12 (four on target). On a personal level, it was another uneventful outing for 19-year-old striker Fabio Silva.
The Portuguese youngster is yet to score this season despite making 23 appearances in all competitions so far. Despite Raúl Jiménez’s status as the Wolves’ first-choice striker, opportunities have certainly not been in short supply for Silva.
With the Mexican serving a three-match suspension for a red card against Leeds before the international break, another opportunity has arisen for the 19-year-old to start, but once again it has not been seized.
According to SofaScore, two of Wolves’ five shots were from the Portuguese teenager, with one on target as Wolves’ club-record signing played 90 minutes. In addition, the youngster only had 27 touches throughout the night, eight less than the 35 of goalkeeper José Sá, losing possession seven times.
While a 78% pass success rate is satisfying, the striker attempted just 18 passes in his time on the pitch, completing 14.
There was little defensive contribution, as Silva lost 79% of his duels and was also unable to make a single clearance, block, interception or tackle and was dribbled twice.
The Fabio Silva puzzle is certainly one that both Lage and former Old Gold manager Nuno Espirito Santo have struggled to solve since the 19-year-old moved from Porto in 2020 for a club-record £35.6m, with journalist Liam Keen labeling the striker a “hindrance” earlier this season.
Last season was a proper inaugural campaign in the English top flight, as the youngster scored four goals and assisted three in 32 league appearances. However, there have been few signs of progress since then.
Jimenez’s return from a nasty skull fracture has curtailed the 19-year-old’s chances but, in what has been a quiet campaign by Mexican standards, Silva has failed to outshine the 30-year-old.
Does Silva have a future with the Wolves?
There is no question about the youngster’s talent and potential, as otherwise the Wolves would not have broken their record transfer fee to lure him to Molineux.
However, a situation is now developing where the Portuguese shooter cannot be trusted when Jimenez is unavailable. Given this situation, Lage may well be looking to bring in a new striker in the next transfer window.
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