There has been a heated argument among Chelsea fans and football fans if Thiago Silva can give Frank Lampard exactly what he needs at Chelsea.
This was after the Blues had completed deals for Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, while Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz is also expected to sign in what could be a club-record deal.
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However, one of Chelsea’s most noteworthy and significant signings is that of Thiago Silva.
While Chelsea has largely focused on youth over the past two seasons, Silva bucks the trend.
At 35 years old, this is a player well into the twilight of his career, but that isn’t to say he’s past it. Far from it.
Silva only just played in a Champions League final for Paris Saint-Germain and is still considered one of the best defenders in the European game. There was plenty of competition for his signature and so Chelsea’s success in signing represents quite the coup.
Silva will bring a steady hand to the Chelsea defence and an experienced head to the Stamford Bridge dressing room.
Lampard might not be able to build around the Brazilian in the long term, but his signing will help the Blues boss bridge the gap between one generation and the next. Silva could prove to be one of the shrewdest signings Chelsea have made for some time.
Chelsea has targeted their problem areas one by one this summer. They needed a proven goalscorer and so Werner arrived from RB Leipzig. A right-sided attacker was desired by Lampard and so Ziyech was signed from Ajax.
Chilwell will give Chelsea the dependable left-back they have lacked for years, even going back to Jose Mourinho’s second spell in charge, while a new goalkeeper is expected to be next on the shopping list to replace the error-prone Kepa Arrizabalaga.
A number of potential candidates including Jan Oblak and Andre Onana have been put forward.
Central defence, however, might trump all these areas in terms of how problematic it has been for Lampard since he took over as manager last summer.
This is why the signing of Silva as a free agent is so significant: he has the potential to be the solution to the Blues’ defensive issues.
Silva made more clearances (4.3 per 90 minutes, as per WhoScored) and blocks (0.9 per 90 minutes than any other Chelsea player last season, and that is in a dominant PSG side who largely control possession.
The Brazilian won 65% of his aerial duels in Ligue 1 last term (as per Football Critic) and 70% of his duels as a whole. This puts Silva ahead of every Chelsea player in each of the metrics besides Kurt Zouma, who won 71% of his aerial duels in the Premier League last season.
Defending set-pieces has been an Achilles heel of Chelsea’s under Lampard and so the former midfielder surely has had this at the forefront of his mind when moving for Silva.
One of the Brazilian’s best qualities is his reading of the game and the flight of a ball. His organisational skills could also lift the defensive work of others around him.
Too often under Lampard Chelsea have lacked a leader in defence. Silva could be that leader, and exactly what the Blues are looking for.