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Transfer Profile: David Da Silva

Pohang Steelers have attempted to address their striking woes of last season with the early transfer window acquisition of Brazilian striker David Da Silva. Silva, 29, has had brief spells in the J League second division, Qatar Stars League and even the League of Ireland at Shelbourne FC. Pohang picked him up from Indonesian outfit Persebaya Surabaya after a successful 20 goal season. To get more details our columnist Ross Davis spoke to Tasos Anastasopoulos who follows the Indonesian Liga 1.
(Image via Pohang Steelers Facebook)

How was he viewed at Persebaya and league wide? 

David Da Silva was one of the best scorers in the league, a threat for every defense he played against. He came close to finishing the season in as the top goal scorer with 20, but failed to do so since his 'rival' Rakic scored three goals in the final match to make his total 21. Due to Persebaya's numerous issues regarding their import players and injuries, he carried the team almost by himself in the attack as the only healthy foreigner in the squad. However, he also missed six matches due to his own injuries and one due to yellow card accumulation. Despite the fact that opposition defenses were focused on him, Da Silva still managed to have the best goals per game ratio by far with 20 in just 23 matches. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that he came on as substitute in seven of 23 matches mostly due to the aforementioned injury worries.

Strongest aspects of his game?

What made him stand out was the fact that he is very tall by Indonesian standards (185cm), dangerous with the ball at his feet, and quite fast. His speed and acceleration made him almost impossible for Indonesian defenders to stop; especially on counter attacks. His technique is also quite good despite not being equally fast when having the ball. His first touch allows him to create space for himself, especially inside the penalty area where he would regularly send the ball into the back of the net. According to a friend of mine that used to watch him when he was playing in Kuwait, Da Silva's best skills are "good positioning in the box, gets in the chances easily. If he is fed well then goals will come easy."


Weaknesses? 

His main weakness was his health. He missed several matches due to injury and was forced to play in the second half in other matches due to his physical conditioning not being ideal for a full 90 minutes. Since he was the 'player to watch,' he suffered several fouls with some making things worse for his right knee, which kept him sidelined for almost two months. He was also caught offside quite often, but that made sense when his team had him as the only one in attack. Lastly, he wasn't as dangerous outside of the penalty with almost all of his goals coming from close distance.

Reason for Leaving? 

He left Persebaya when his contract expired in early December and went back to his hometown in Brazil to "study" the contract extension offer that was given to him before the last match of the season. After such a productive season his stock had a sort of limit, making it quite hard not only for Persebaya but for any Indonesian team to sign him for the forthcoming season. There was no mention of any 'bigger club' in Indonesia going after him and it came as no surprise when news broke that he agreed to join Pohang.

Where do you think he will be best utilised for Pohang?

The only position that he actually played throughout the whole season was in the center of the attack. Most of the time he was alone, but in some matches when Persebaya were desperate to score goals he was joined by Fauzi. It didn't work well for Persebaya as the two were always bumping into each other in tactical terms since they are similar players. Da Silva's presence in the attack also created a lot of space for Persebaya's dangerously fast wingers Irfan Jaya and Osvaldo Haay; two players that may well play in K League one day as they create dangerous situations and score several goals as well. I doubt Da Silva can play in any position other than striker, but I assume it won't be the whole team trying to serve him goals like it was in Indonesia. Instead, it seems likely to be him trying to help the rest of the team the best way possible.

What should K League fans expect?

He is an athlete that dedicates himself 100% to the club. Despite getting fouled so often he had complete control of his nerves, unlike the majority of foreign strikers in Indonesia. He sacrificed his health for his team, and he earned the respect of fans league-wide since he never had any kind of provoking celebration in any of his 20 goals. Indonesia is a nation with very passionate fans, so it's quite an accomplishment to manage to keep yourself calm enough when playing against them.  Da Silva also has a high work rate and helped the team in the defense by pressing into the midfield when defending to regain possession. Here in Indonesia he often played in front of 30,000 or more fans, so hopefully he will still perform the same even though Korean fans don't go to the stadium as much.

Best Moment with Persebaya?

Da Silva had three hat tricks in league play, but the most impressive performance came in the fourth round when he scored three goals and created the fourth helping his team take a 4-1 win at PS Tira. Another 4-1 victory over Mitra at home in the 23rd round and a 5-2 away win at Bali United were his other two hat tricks. Call it a coincidence, but both of those 4-1 victories had Koreans involved. PS Tira defender Kim Sangmin was gaurding Da Silva, while in the second one Mitra goalkeeper Yoo Jaehoon conceded the goals. I doubt any of them have played in K League, but perhaps they had something to do with the Brazilian striker becoming known in Korea and signing with Pohang.

Anything you would like to add about Da Silva?

David Da Silva first came to Indonesia on behalf of Bhayangkara FC, the 2017 champions that were in search of a dangerous striker. The Brazilian took part in some friendlies and though everybody thought he would sign, he was released with Bhayangkara bringing in Komazec (who played one match for Busan in 2014 in case anyone remembers him) instead. Still, this didn't discourage Da Silva since Persebaya appeared out of nowhere and signed him to a one year deal. Things didn't look so good at first, but everything changed quickly. He came off the bench and scored his team's only goal at Persela and was magnificent with three goals and an assist in the 4-1 win at PS Tira one week later. He quickly became a fan favorite with fans seeing him as a true fighter that could life the team to the high places where they belong. He managed to help save the team from relegation in a season that half the teams were close to winning the title and the other half were trying to retain their position in the league.

He was one of the best players in the league and earned his way to a much better team and contract for the season to come. I hope he will do well in Pohang, though it won't be easy competing at a higher level. In the past, the foreigners that stood out in Indonesia and chose to move to a better league the next season weren't that productive. Marclei Santos (from Mitra to Chonburi) and Sylvano Comvalius (from Bali to Suphanburi) are the latest examples. Both were 'demoted' to a 'worse league' and most probably a lower value contract in Vietnam and Malaysia respectively. Here's hoping the third time's the charm!


Kleague United  would like to thank Tasos for contributing to this piece. Tasos is an Indonesian football enthusiast and can be found on twitter here.

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