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Is Thiago Silva the solution to Chelsea’s leaky defensive problems?

Chelsea is inching closer to signing Brazilian center-back Thiago Silva on a free transfer after his contract with PSG came to an end after the Champions League final match against Bayern Munich.

The Brazilian’s final game as captain for the Parisien club in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich ended in a heartbreaking loss. Lisbon didn’t provide the perfect send-off party for Silva, who made 315 appearances for PSG. Silva, who spent eight years with PSG after joining from AC Millan could be Frank Lampard’s next signing as the London based club are keen to strengthen their shaky backline. Despite sealing a top-four position, qualifying for next season’s Champions League, and making it to the FA cup final, Chelsea struggled defensively throughout Lampard’s debut season at the Stamford Bridge. The team conceded 54 Premier League goals last season, the worst record of any top 10 sides. Their woeful defensive record last season was also the team’s worst total since Roman Abramovich bought the club. Lampard has been desperate to add some experience and leadership to his leaky defense, and Silva certainly brings both of that. Chelsea’s defensive issues were there from day one Lampard took over and were still on display at the end of the campaign. Lampard knew that it was a problem that was difficult to address but impossible to ignore. In Silva, Chelsea would be getting a more commanding player with defensive solidity.

 

What will Silva offer Chelsea?

Thiago Silva is an experienced player, and his composure and ability on the ball is impressive for a center-back. PSG has always been the dominant team in Ligue 1, which means they dominate possession and control most of their games. Lampard’s side also likes to dominate possession and expect the defenders to play the ball from the back. This system will benefit Silva a lot since he is excellent on the ball. Last season, he made 27.58 forward passes per game, which is one of the highest in Ligue 1. In PSG’s final match of the Champions League against Bayern Munich, Silva completed 38 passes and 57 touches than any other teammate. One of Chelsea’s major problem last season was the defending of set-pieces. Last season, during a post-match interview, Lampard said a lot of the goals his side concedes are the balls that are played into the box and aren’t defended right at that moment. That was Lampard’s biggest headache throughout the season. Silva holds the key to Lampard’s solution. The Brazilian defender is a leader who can organize the backline and ensure that the defense doesn’t slip up. Silva is also the kind of defender who can play under pressure. He doesn’t succumb to pressure and is always calm. He can also read the game correctly. One of his biggest weapons is positioning. His positioning is excellent, especially when it comes to defending against dangerous players. Silva typically shifts his body and moves to give the opponent the least amount of options possible. He did that against Europe’s top marksman Robert Lewandowski and marshaled him very well.

Does the deal make any sense?

Silva is a serial winner, having lifted the Serie A title with AC Millan in only his second season in Europe. At PSG, he has been part of 23 domestic trophy triumphs. Silva also proved that he can still play at the highest level with his performance in Sunday’s Champions League final. In the game against Bayern, he coped well with Bayern Munich’s pacey wingers. Silva will also become a mentor for some of the young hopefuls aiming to break into Lampard’s squad. Silva is precisely the type of defender that could be an idol for the defenders at Chelsea. Silva would offer a wealth of experience and will also aid the development of the highly-rated 18-year-old defender Xavier Mbuyamba who recently joined the club. His presence at the heart of Chelsea’s defense will help the likes of Zouma, Rudger and Christensen cut out small individual errors and become a bit more streetwise. Critics also believe Silva is approaching the twilight years of his career, and Chelsea may regret pursuing his signature. He has struggled with injuries and lost some speed. When you play in the Premier League, the pace is vital. Silva is a great defender and could prove a valuable addition to Lampard’s side. However, his age means he is not a long term solution but has a lot to offer in the short term.

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