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Feature: What Mamelodi Sundowns fans can expect to see from their new signing Toni Silva

1:08 AM GMT+8 04/05/2018
toni silva
Goal takes a look at Sundowns' latest acquisition, who is highly-rated by the club head coach Pitso Mosimane

Mamelodi Sundowns recently announced the signing of Guinea-Bissau international Toni Silva on a long-term contract.

The highly regarded forward has joined the Brazilians on a free transfer having parted ways with Greece Super League club Levadiakos a few months ago. Silva, whose full name is Toni Brito Silva Sá, was born in Guinea-Bissau's capital city, Bissau but relocated to Portugal as a child.

The attacker was very nomadic during his early years as a footballer having started out his football career at Portuguese outfit Real Sport Clube in 2007, before moving to one of the biggest clubs in Europe, SL Benfica, the following year. 

After two seasons with the Benfica academy, Silva attracted interest from English outfit Chelsea FC, who signed him for their reserve side. Chelsea's English rivals Liverpool FC came calling for Silva's signature in 2008 and he joined Premier League giants. He played with AC Milan playmaker Suso, Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling and Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey in the Liverpool academy.

The Reds offered him his first professional contract after he impressed while playing for the club's reserve team during the 2010/11 campaign as a 17-year-old promising winger. However, Silva found it difficult to break into the star-studded match-day squads. 

As a result, he was loaned out to Northampton Town, who were campaigning in the English League Two, midway through the 2011/12 season. The attacker made 14 appearances for the Cobblers - netting once in the process and he returned to his parent club at the end of the campaign.

Liverpool deemed him surplus to requirements upon his return to the club and was sold to English Championship side Barnsley  where he battled for game time during the 2012/13 season. He was once again shipped out on loan - joining Dagenham & Redbridge having made only appearance for Barnsley.

Silva became a free-agent after being released by Barnlsey after making only four appearances for Dagenham & Redbridge  between March and April 2013. The player finally found a stable home in December 2013 when he signed a six-month deal with Bulgarian giants CSKA Sofia.

He enjoyed regular game time at Sofia featuring in 42 matches -  scoring eight goals in the process between 2014 and 2015. However, Silva left the club after he was subjected to what was thought to be racist chanting by a small number of the Sofia supporters with the club struggling in the league and the player failing to score goals in April of 2015.

Turkish club Şanlıurfaspor signed the player from Sofia during the 2015/16 season and he netted three goals in eight appearances, before returning to Portugal midway through the campaign - joining second division side União Madeira.

Silva was again on the road at the beginning of the 2016/17 campaign with Levadiakos signing him having scored three goals in 14 appearances. He had a good debut season netting six times in 26 appearances in competitions, but he left the club midway through his second season with the club and he has since signed a for Sundowns as a 24-year-old.

Although, Silva was born in Guinea-Bissau, he played for Portugal youth national teams (under-17 and under-18). But he switched to Guinea-Bissau in 2016 and he made his debut for the Djurtus in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Zambia, and he managed to score in his first appearance for his country of birth.

The attack-minded player is known to be a quick left-footed attacker, who prefers playing on the right. The lanky forward is blessed with good technical ability and dribbling skills which can cut open any defence.

At Sundowns, Silva is seen as direct competition for Aubrey Ngoma and George Lebese, who are also left-footed attackers, but he also faces stiff competition from Themba Zwane, Percy Tau and Gaston Sirino for a place in the team's starting line-up.

Mosimane will surely be spoiled for choice in the attacking department during the 2018/19 campaign with Silva expected to make an impact in his debut season in South Africa.