In May of last year, Newcastle were said to be tracking Benfica winger Rafa Silva for a summer move. The link came via Silva’s agent Antonio Araujo, who said the following at the time:
“They – Newcastle – are one of those teams interested.
“Whatever happens, will happen. Now, the main focus is to be a Champion in Portugal.
“Benfica know what Rafa (Silva) wants in terms of a new contract, so we are waiting calmly.
“I think it’s going to happen because there is a will from the club and there is Rafa’s will as well.
“The player is well at Benfica, now he wants to see his salary situation go to what he [feels he] really represents for Benfica.”
From these quotes, it appears that Newcastle, then coached by Rafa Benitez, were interested in the Portuguese international. However, the player seemed to prefer signing a new deal with Benfica.
Silva was having a tremendous campaign for the eventual Portuguese champions. Last season he scored 21 goals in his 44 appearances while adding 6 assists.
The 26-year-old was handed his new deal in June, and it was for five years to 2024.
Rafa renova até 2024!
— SL Benfica (@SLBenfica) June 12, 2019
The Daily Mail are reporting that Newcastle still have the winger on their radar and are mulling a £15m offer for him this summer.
The report claims that Benfica value Silva at £25m but that Newcastle may be able to tempt them into selling at the £15m mark.
This all depends, of course, on how much the global coronavirus crisis impacts both clubs financially. Newcastle have furloughed their recruitment team so Silva could be a player Nickson still has identified as a prominent target.
He joined Benfica in 2016 from Braga and has been capped by Portugal 17 times. This season he’s scored 9 goals with 6 assists in 25 appearances but missed over two months from October to January with a torn abductor muscle.
The report also claims that Silva is ready for a new challenge despite just signing his contract less than a year ago.
Silva would add a much-needed creative spark in the final third. He’s also a versatile forward who can play on either wing or as an attacking midfielder.
He could be a bargain if Newcastle can bring him in for just £15m, which could be realistic if transfer fees are driven down this summer.