There were certainly a few eyebrows raised when Wolves broke their transfer record to sign 18-year-old Fabio Silva from Porto in 2020.
The Old Gold paid a whopping £35.6m to sign the teenager, despite him having scored just three goals in 21 appearances for the Portuguese giants, in a deal that was later described as “increasingly baffling” by New York Times journalist Tariq Panja.
The teenager was thrown in at the deep end following the injury to Raul Jimenez and seriously struggled, hitting just four goals in 32 appearances in his debut campaign.
The following season was even worse for Silva, as despite Jimenez’s return and the pressure on him being eased somewhat, he would fail to score in 26 appearances in all competitions for Bruno Lage’s side.
During the 2020/21 season, Silva came under a lot of criticism, particularly from former manager Harry Redknapp. He was a pundit on Sky Sports when he said: “He’s a kid, he looks well short at the moment. Well, well short.”
Now 20, and Redknapp’s comments seem more true than ever, as Lage felt that he wasn’t needed at Molineux this season, despite seeing his side hit just 38 goals in the top flight last season.
Perhaps all he needs is a hair cut in order to improve his game.
That was certainly the view of club legend Steve Bull, who in an interview with Football FanCast commented: “I think if I had him in front of me, the first thing I’d say to him is get your hair cut because when he’s heading the ball it isn’t hitting him directly on his head, it’s hitting him on the side where his hair is and he isn’t getting the power behind it.
“Seriously, that’s not me being funny. Think when you head a ball at full power it’s off your forehead but when it comes to him, it’s gliding off his locks.”
However, while he has started well in his loan with Anderlecht, scoring seven goals with the Belgian side, it is a testament to how much Lage rates the youngster that he felt he would be better off on loan, despite Wolves’ issues in front of goal.
The Old Gold have scored the joint-fewest goals in the Premier League this season with just three from their opening seven fixtures, with Diego Costa brought in as an emergency reinforcement.
Those at Wolves will obviously be hoping that Silva can return from Belgium a much more confident and developed striker, as they will want to see a return on a significant investment that has so far cost them a mighty £8.9m a goal.
But it certainly does not bode well that he was loaned out this summer by Lage, and Redknapp’s historic thoughts on the signing in 2021 will still be a commonly-held one as we approach 2023. In this case, the former Spurs manager was absolutely right, but Wolves were quite evidently wrong in their decision to sign the striker.