In Santos Borré Eintracht Frankfurt has signed one of the most exciting strikers available on the … [+] free agency market this summer. (Photo by Ernesto BENAVIDES / AFP) (Photo by ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP via Getty Images)
AFP via Getty Images
Eintracht Frankfurt has found and signed their André Silva replacement. On Monday, the Eagles announced that they have signed Colombian striker Rafael Santos Borré Maury on a free transfer from River Plate. The 25-year-old has signed a contract that will keep him in Frankfurt 2025.
“Rafael Santos Borré is an exciting player who has already collected experience in European club football,” Frankfurt director of sport Markus Krösche said in a club statement. “His goal instinct and accuracy will help us. We are happy to have signed a player of international format. Both in sporting and business terms, this is an excellent transfer.” According to Transfermarkt, Santos Borré’s market value is $18.7 million Santos Borré, making him one of the most valuable free agents available this summer.
For the Colombian, it is the second stint in Europe. The 25-year-old previously played for Atlético Madrid and Villarreal in Spain, scoring just two goals in 17 LaLiga games. The forward then returned to South America in 2017, playing for River Plate in Argentina, where he has managed 56 goals and 18 assists in 149 games across all competitions.
Although he is expected to fill the void left by Silva, Santos Borré is a different player than the Portuguese striker. Described as an old-fashioned striker by Frankfurt, that description only holds true to a certain extend. In fact, the native of Barranquilla can play behind a more physically imposing number 9 and can also play on the left from where he can cut into the center using his powerful right-footed shot to deadly effect. Bundesliga.com has likened him to former Bayer Leverkusen and current Los Angeles Galaxy star Chicharito.
The ability to score highlights real goals but also play in multiple positions in attack, underline both Santos Borré’s attacking intelligence and made him a hot property on the market. Frankfurt beat out at least one Major League Soccer team and several bigger clubs from South America and Southern Europe to land the 25-year-old.
Santos Borré was a goal machine for River Plate in Argentina, helping the club win the Copa … [+] Libertadores in 2018. (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)
AFP via Getty Images
But what sort of forward are Eagles fans going to get? As alluded to above, Santos Borré is not a one-to-one replacement for Silva. Playing a bit differently, Santos Borré did not have the same goal output for River Plate that Silva had for Frankfurt last season. The Colombian managed just 0.49 goals per 90 minutes; in comparison, Silva scored 0.83 goals per 90 minutes over the last season.
Despite the lower goal output, however, Santos Borré is the more clinical of the two in front of goal. Taking just 1.69 shots per 90 minutes — Silva took 2.99 shots per 90 last season (57.83% on target) — Santos Borré managed to get 65.79% of his shots on target. Santos Borré and Silva are comparable in terms of goal conversion rate (28.947% vs. 27.711%) and touches in the box per 90 minutes (4.13 vs. 4.94).
For new Frankfurt head coach Oliver Glasner this means getting the most out of Santos Borré’s clinical finishes. Last season, Silva heavily benefited from playing together with Filip Kostić. The Serbian winger, however, is a candidate to be sold this summer — several Italian clubs and Hertha Berlin are interested — in his stead, Frankfurt is looking to finalize a deal for Milan winger Jens Petter Hauge.
Another question mark is whether Frankfurt could retain Luka Jović. Signing the Serbian from Real Madrid would allow the Colombian to come from the deep rather than playing right upfront. But even without Jović, Frankfurt has signed the likes of Ragnar Ache and Ali Akman. Furthermore, Gonçalo Paciência and promising Dejan Joveljić have returned to the club.
With all this in mind, Frankfurt has signed one of the most exciting strikers available on the market on a free transfer. Pressed into the right system, the Colombian will guarantee goals and further improve his already impressive market value making the 25-year-old one of the players to watch in the Bundesliga this upcoming season.
Manuel Veth is the editor-in-chief of the Futbolgrad Network and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth