When Silvio Proto left Anderlecht last year after 11 seasons and almost 400 games, the smart money was on Mile Svilar to be his successor and to eventually put a lot of euros into the club’s coffers.
The son of former Yugoslavia and Royal Antwerp keeper, Ratko Svilar, the youngster, who’ll be 18 in a few weeks’ time, has been a regular for Anderlecht in the UEFA Youth League and has represented Belgium at all levels up to the U19s.
To keep Team Svilar happy, Anderlecht’s Operations Manager Herman Van Holsbeeck told them that Svilar Junior would get first team opportunities in the 2017-18 season.
That looks unlikely to happen and Team Svilar are not happy. To settle the impasse, Anderlecht say they want 5 million euros if he leaves and a major slice of any sell-on fee.
Svilar is out of contract in the summer and there is also confusion as to whether Anderlecht can unilaterally extend the contract by one year. And Svilar wants first team football now.
The problems started when new Anderlecht coach René Weiler entered the scene. Weiler had a look at Davy Roef – Proto’s replacement – and decided he didn’t like what he saw.
By November, Weiler had dropped Roef and called up journeyman keeper Frank Boeckx, who had once planned to buy a camper van and drive around the world.
Weiler put Boeckx in the nets for a Europa League game and he stayed there for the rest of the season in the Anderlecht title-winning side.
But Boeckx needed a back operation in the summer and Weiler was still not ready to put Roef under pressure in the first team and he didn’t see Svilar as a number one.
Weiler’s answer was to bring in Matz Sels on loan for a season from Newcastle United. Sels had been elected Best Goalkeeper in Belgium in 2015 but his move to England had not worked out.
At the same time, Weiler has begun to be impressed by Roef’s improved attitude and maturity, and made him number two keeper when the season started.
So Svilar is now number three and Boeckx will be starting training soon. The club see Svilar as a player who could have two or three years as number one before moving on a to a big club for 15-20 million euros. That’s Van Holsbeeck’s game plan.
Team Svilar agree with the premise that Mile will be a top keeper one day. They have seen Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma receive the number one spot and a mouth-watering salary. Donnarumma is only six months older than Svilar and I’m sure Team Svilar would bracket the two players together.
Mile Svilar pulled out of an Anderlecht youth team game with a minor ‘injury’ and has not been seen for a week. With Mile’s contract ending in the summer, Ratko Svilar may just decide to sit tight and move his son on to the highest bidder.