It has been a tumultuous three years since Marco Silvestri left Leeds United to return to his home country with Serie A side Hellas Verona. Leeds have since had Thomas Christiansen, Paul Heckingbottom and Marcelo Bielsa in the dugout – and have returned to the Premier League.
Meanwhile, Silvestri has endured relegation with Verona, time on the bench and has now returned to the starting line-up with the club in Serie A – after regaining promotion. The 29-year-old is in the form of his life at Verona, despite an impressive three-year stint at Leeds between 2014 and 2017.
Silvestri played 98 times for Leeds in that period, but left after falling down the pecking order. Fast forward three years, and the goalkeeper has become regarded as one of the best stoppers in Italian football – even being called up by Roberto Mancini for Italy earlier this season. A stat posted on Twitter explains why.
A stat published by Twitter account FIVE YARDS shows Silvestri is in better form than any goalkeeper in Europe’s top five leagues and the English Championship when it comes to preventing goals – averaging 6.4 a match, and clocking up 36 saves in the process. In his seven Serie A outings this season, Silvestri has kept three clean sheets – conceding only five times.
So, should Leeds consider bringing him back to Elland Road? There is no doubt that of Massimo Cellino’s imports, Silvestri was up there with the best alongside perhaps Souleymane Doukara, Gaetano Berardi and Mirco Antenucci – far above the likes of Tommaso Bianchi, Edgar Cani, Giuseppe Bellusci and more.
An excellent shot-stopper, he was also half-decent with the ball at his feet. Leeds need a goalkeeper, albeit one that can act as cover for Illan Meslier. Kiko Casilla’s short spell at Elland Road has hardly been great – making mistakes in the play-offs against Derby, and being banned for eight games last season after accusations of racism.
Spain international Casilla is one of the club’s highest earners and multiple reports have suggested that if Leeds get an offer – he will be sold. Spanish clubs were linked in the summer. So, if Leeds need to find competition for Meslier – Victor Orta should look no further than a stopper they sold in 2017, because right now, he is the best Europe has to offer.
Nigel Martyn speaks to Leeds United News: Archive