Wolves’ goalscoring issues this season were always going to mean that Bruno Lage’s decision to send Fabio Silva out on loan would be scrutinised.
After the Old Gold managed just 38 goals in the top flight last season, the fewest of any side not to be relegated, signing a striker was a massive priority for Lage at Molineux.
The Portuguese manager would wait until late in the window to sign Sasa Kalajdzic, only for the Austrian to injure his ACL on his debut against Southampton, while Raul Jimenez is also currently sidelined through injury.
At that point, Silva had already been loaned to Anderlecht, with the hope that the young forward would finally find his goalscoring touch after failing to find the back of the net in any of his appearances last season.
The former Porto man started impressively with the Belgian side and already has seven goals to his name, which has no doubt left a lot of Wolves fans questioning Lage’s reasoning behind loaning him out when you consider the scarcity of attacking options currently available at Molineux.
Was Lage right to loan Silva out?
Despite his lack of goals, former Wolves captain Conor Coady was full of praise for Silva last season, saying:
“We know what he brings us. He’s a young lad who is working every single day. He’s been fantastic since he came in. He works so, so hard to improve and get better, and you see that now.”
While the former Benfica boss has now been sacked by the club, after a return of just three goals in the opening eight Premier League games, his decision to loan out Silva may have been the right one, as he struggled immensely against English opposition on Thursday evening.
Anderlecht hosted West Ham in the Conference League and Silva’s lack of physicality came to the fore once again, as he was regularly bested by the Hammers’ backline.
As per SofaScore, the 20-year-old would win just three out of his 15 duels during the game, resulting in a 20% success rate. He also managed just 13 successful passes in what was a quiet night for the on-loan Wolves man, which again emphasises that he was unable to stamp his authority in the game against tougher opponents.
When Silva returns to England, Wolves will need him to get the better of defenders of that quality on a weekly basis if he is to be a success, and while Thursday was a good test for him, it was one that he ultimately failed.
Therefore, Lage’s controversial decision to send him to Anderlecht was somewhat justified by that performance, and Wolves fans will be hoping that he can do a lot better when he does return to Molineux, otherwise their £35.6m investment will surely prove to be a wasted one.