Chelsea could be set to strengthen their defence by bringing in Thiago Silva on a free transfer. The Guardian report that the Blues have held talks with the Brazilian’s representatives and a decision on his future will be made following the Champions League final. There won’t be a shortage of options for the 35-year-old, but a move to the Premier League could appeal to him.
This proposed transfer is difficult to analyse without looking at the wider picture at Chelsea. The club have already spent big on two attacking players in Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner. It is expected that Kai Havertz could join them. Further to this, they are believed to be looking to sign a goalkeeper, Ben Chilwell and Declan Rice. If all of these proposed deals go through, it would require a huge transfer spend. That seems unlikely in the current market.
The noise from West Ham suggests that they are reluctant to do a deal for Rice and Chelsea may decide to leave that deal for this summer. If the belief is that their former youth team player is the future of their defence, it makes sense to find a stop-gap for the coming season.
There would be few better short-term signings than Thiago Silva. The 35-year-old has won eight league titles and multiple cup competitions at domestic and international level. On Sunday, he captained a team in the Champions League final, albeit PSG lost. He would bring experience and a winning mentality to the Chelsea dressing room, which would provide a huge benefit to a young, talented squad.
Last season, Chelsea conceded 54 times, which was more than any other team in the top-half. It is common knowledge that Frank Lampard needs to improve this problem area. In an earlier analysis of their defence, it emerged that the main reason for their struggles has been Kepa Arrizabalaga’s poor form. However, another factor is the lack of consistency at centre-back, with Lampard regularly changing the pairing that started matches.
This suggests that he doesn’t trust any of his options, despite the obvious talent that the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen possess. It could be that the experience and intelligence of Thiago Silva is brought in to help the younger centre-backs at the club. His presence would prove invaluable around the club and on the training ground.
Although there are positives to this potential transfer, there are caveats to those. Thiago Silva turns 36 next month, therefore the length of the contract is important to consider. Chelsea should offer a year with a club option for a further year should the move be a success. Anything more than this would have huge risk attached to it as he is likely to earn a big salary.
If this deal goes through, there will be some that have serious doubts that the current PSG captain can be the answer to Chelsea’s defensive woes. For all the benefits off the pitch, he will need to justify the deal on it and it is quite a change to go from PSG to Chelsea. In the majority of matches in Ligue 1, he isn’t tested a lot and his main role is to launch attacks with his passing range. At Stamford Bridge, he would have to do a lot more defensive work.
There are concerns about Thiago Silva’s lack of pace and mobility, with Presnel Kimpembe and Timo Kehrer covering for that in the current PSG team. The Premier League would be a step up in terms of pace and physicality, while Chelsea play a style that could bring his weaknesses to the fore. Lampard sets his team up to be open and they are vulnerable to counter attacks.
He would be called to do lot of one-on-one defending. In PSG’s recent win over RB Leipzig, he won four of his five tackles, which showed he could still come out on top in these situations. However, he won’t be used to being called this often on a regular basis, with an average of 1.4 tackles per Ligue 1 match.
This will be an interesting story to follow in the coming days. If Chelsea do complete this signing, there are huge benefits to the deal. Thiago Silva is one of the best centre-backs in recent history, but it would be a big change for him, both in quality of league and style of play. The Blues need to make sure this is done on their terms, not his.