BARNSLEY: New boy could be Silva lining for Reds boss

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LIVERPOOL winger Toni Silva is expected to sign for Barnsley today on a free transfer subject to a successful medical.

The highly-rated teenager is due for a medical at Oakwell with a two-year contract having been agreed between the player and Championship club.

And Reds boss Keith Hill is exciting about developing Silva, who turns 19 in September, into an even better player.

“He’s a very talented player, but he’s still raw,” said Hill, speaking exclusively to The Star.

“We’ve watched him a few times and we’ve really been impressed with we’ve seen.

“He went on loan to Northampton last season, which was a good experience for him.

“I spoke to (Northampton manager) Aidie Boothroyd about him and he agrees that he’s an exciting prospect.”

Hill has worked shrewdly over the summer to strengthen his squad with the free signings of Jacob Mellis, Ben Alnwick, Kelvin Etuhu and Mido.

And Silva will become Hill’s fifth new signing as he continues to work within a tight budget at Oakwell.

“We’re in a different league now in terms of recruiting,” added Hill. “We have to try and get one step ahead of the game and try and develop players.

“It takes time, but it’s exciting to see what can happen. We’ve proved we can develop players like Jacob Butterfield and Ricardo - and we’ll keep doing that.”

Silva played for Benfica as a youth player before being snapped up by Liverpool in 2009, but he struggled to break into the first team with so many big name players ahead of him and change of management at Anfield.

In February last year he joined the Cobblers on loan and played 15 times for the club in a beneficial loan spell which was extended until the end of the season.

Silva also represented Portgual at Under-17 and Under-18 levels and has ambitions to one day break into the national team, although he is still learning his trade.

“Toni is left-footed and we’ve been looking for a left-footed winger for a while,” said Hill.

“But he can also play wide on the right and as No 10, so he’s the type of player we’re looking for.

“There’s no magic formula about buying players unless you have money, but we’re working within a tight budget and doing the best business we can. This is a really good signing for the club but there needs to be some patience because he’s still a young lad.”