Brazilian centre back Thiago Silva, who plied his trade for French heavyweights Paris Saint Germain until recently, is all set to move to south-west London club Chelsea in this summer’s transfer window. Silva’s contract at Paris Saint Germain had run its course this season and he is now a free agent. This essentially means that whichever club chooses to pick him next will only have to pay his wage demand and not any transfer fee to his parent club Paris Saint Germain. The Brazilian was offered chances to a host of clubs after his contract ran out at the Parc des Princes but reports suggest that he has chosen to go to Stamford Bridge in London to play under former England midfielder Frank Lampard.
Silva will be a valuable addition to Lampard’s Blues, as he brings his wealth of experience from a top-flight European heavyweight club with him to London. His last game for his previous side Paris Saint Germain came in the final of the UEFA Champions League against Bayern Munich on 23 August 2020, Sunday.
It was also widely reported that his former manager Thomas Tuchel wanted him to remain at the Parc des Princes but Silva’s falling-out with Paris Saint Germain’s sporting director Leonardo Araujo in the recent past convinced him to move out of France. This might sound like music to the ears of Chelsea’s supporters as there is nothing they would like better than him adding to the already fragile defence that their club has.
WHO IS THIAGO SILVA AND WHY IS HE SO WIDELY RESPECTED?
To appreciate at first why Lampard has been so keen on getting Silva’s signature and making him move lock, stock and barrel to London, we need to first understand who Thiago Silva is and why he is so widely respected throughout the footballing universe. Born on 22 September 1984 in the historic city of Rio De Janeiro, Silva made his first move in European football first for FC Porto when he moved there from Brazilian club Juventude in January 2004. Spending exactly a year there, Silva moved to Russian giants Dinamo Moscow and stayed there for a long time too, but could not be guaranteed any appearances.
Silva went back home to Brazil as he was picked by Fluminense in January 2006 and made 83 appearances for the club up till December 2008, when, in the winter transfer window of the 2008/09 season, he was brought back to Europe by AC Milan to wear the club’s colours at the San Siro Stadium in the Italian Serie A competition. Silva was a revelation at AC Milan, spending three and a half seasons there, and making 119 appearances in the heart of their defence. In the summer transfer window preceding the 2012/13 season, Paris Saint Germain swooped in to snatch him out of the San Siro and brought him to the Parc des Princes in Paris, where he has now successfully completed eight seasons.
Now that his contract has run out with Paris Saint Germain, Silva is a free agent. However, it was at the French club where he became widely renowned because of his technical abilities while defending. Although not exactly blessed with pace, Silva is excellent with positioning himself when opposition attackers get too close and his tactical clout has held him in good stead over the years.
Current Paris Saint Germain manager Tuchel holds Silva with a lot of respect. It was the latter’s partnerships in the heart of Paris Saint Germain’s defence along with Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe in the latter stages of his time there that will be widely remembered by the Parc des Princes faithful.
Silva has also been the captain of the French club for the longest time and this shows that he is blessed with natural leading abilities.
WHAT IS CHELSEA’S CURRENT DEFENSIVE SITUATION AND WHY DO THEY NEED THIAGO SILVA IN THEIR SQUAD?
Chelsea, under manager Lampard, have had a stellar showing in the Premier League in the 2019/20 season. Although they were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by the eventual winners Bayern Munich in the round of sixteen stage and their FA Cup run was cut short by cross town rivals Arsenal in the final, they managed to enthrall their fans, who now look towards the club with a mix of respect and admiration in their eyes. This respect for the Blues was missing when they were managed by Antonio Conte and Mauricio Sarri in the past, and was last visible when Portuguese tactician Jose Mourinho was in charge. Former England international Lampard, who was a brilliant playmaker himself in his heyday, has managed to bind the club with its fans together.
The Blues were going well in the Premier League in the 2019/20 season up till its business end when a string of disappointing performances ensured that they barely finished in the top four after Manchester United, managed by the unassuming Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, made a late run and ended in the third spot after Liverpool and Manchester City.
Chelsea have taken this humiliation to heart and have got their business going in the current summer transfer window even before it officially began.
Manager Lampard, who identified some weaknesses in his side’s abilities to unlock opposition teams when a deadlock was in place, has already signed attackers Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
Right wing player Kai Havertz has also reportedly agreed to terms with the London club and he will soon make his way to Stamford Bridge from Bayer Leverkusen. However, Chelsea’s real woes have been in their defence. In the 2019/20 season, their backline was constantly beaten and became widely infamous for being the worst defensive unit the club has ever possessed. Although fullbacks Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James gave a glimpse of some promise in bits and pieces, centre backs Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Timori were almost always found wanting. Wingbacks Marcos Alonso and Emerson, in their limited appearances, did not enthrall their manager a lot.
This meant that manager Lampard had to act fast and this he did by going for the kill and trying to bring Silva to the club. Turning 36 in less than a month, Silva is no spring chicken, but his wide wealth of experience will hold him and the Blues in good stead at Stamford Bridge.
He is also widely expected to be given the captain’s armband by Lampard, as his leadership skills precede his reputation. Silva’s technical proficiency will be much needed in Chelsea’s defence, which has been seen leaking goals with a remarkable accuracy in the past. Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who had a poor run of form throughout the season between the sticks, did not help matters at all.
WHAT CAN THIAGO SILVA GIVE TO CHELSEA AND WHY IS HIS PRESENCE IMPORTANT IN THE DRESSING ROOM?
If Chelsea manage to sign Silva, then it can be said that they will be landing a jackpot. Although this is not a long-term plan and he is most likely going to be given a one-year contract, his presence in the dressing room should be enough to uplift his more despondent teammates. Silva has the mentality of a winner, and although the UEFA Champions League winners medal has eluded him, he has been the recipient of seven Ligue 1 titles and one Serie A title, among several other personal commendations. His new teammates at Chelsea will find someone to look up to and when he commands his team from the heart of its defence, they are bound to follow a regimented line of attack and follow manager Lampard’s instructions to the T.
Silva will most likely be asked to partner Christensen in the centre back position, and playing alongside the former will rub off well on the Denmark international. He can learn a lot from him, not least how to position oneself well when the opposition attackers get the ball in awkward areas. Silva’s proficiency with the ball is also noted when he leads his sides to play out from the back, and he can do short passes really well. Silva is also a good player of through balls as well as lobbed ones. He has been known to get forward at times, as this statistic of 17 goals during his time at Paris Saint Germain will tell us more clearly. He is most definitely a threat from set pieces.
Silva is reported to be undergoing his medical at Stamford Bridge soon and if the deal falls through, then it is safe to say that Chelsea will have landed a gem. Manager Lampard will gain a confidant who can give action to his thoughts. As most newspaper reports will make us believe, Silva is perhaps the next John Terry to Frank Lampard’s Jose Mourinho. If another new signing Ben Chilwell too arrives from Leicester City, then we can assure the spectators that Chelsea’s defence will be one to fear this coming Premier League season.