Very few people are on the fence when it comes to giving an opinion on Thiago Silva’s move to Chelsea.
There’s the Chelsea fan view: 'He’s got all the experience, guile and nous that we've been crying out for, he’s going to make us Premier League champions and it’s a stroke of genius!'
Or there’s the non-Chelsea fan view: 'He’s too old, it’s a terrible signing and it’s hilarious that they think they’re going to challenge for the title with a 57-year-old centre-back!'
However, you’ll be glad to know there’s a third option – and it doesn’t cause splinters from fence-sitting.
Silva can be a fantastic signing for Chelsea, bringing with him all of the aforementioned Chelsea fan hopes and dreams – but he’s not going to solve their defensive woes. Not yet at least.
While the bulk of Frank Lampard’s transfer war chest has been spent on forward players, the Blues’ Achilles heel last season was undoubtedly their defence.
Chelsea shipped a staggering 54 goals in the 2019/20 league season – four more than 14th placed Crystal Palace and the most any top-four Premier League side has conceded over a 38-game campaign.
While Silva’s knowledge and experience of the game is undeniable and he certainly represents an upgrade on their current crop of defensive options, it’s difficult to envisage one player having such a dramatic influence on a backline clearly bereft of confidence.
However, given time to settle in English football, while Silva may not be able to guide Chelsea to the league championship this year, he may well have a huge influence on their title tilts in years to come.
Lampard has an absolute wealth of young, defensive talent at his disposal, but when given the opportunity to showcase their talents and stake their claim for a regular place in the starting XI, none of them seem to have the temperament, character or concentration levels to do so.
For example, Andreas Christensen, Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma amassed 64 Premier League appearances between them last season, yet it would be no surprise to see none of the trio in Chelsea’s first team come the Blues’ first game of the season at Brighton.
While all three possess the physical qualities required to make it at the top level, they’re each capable of lapses in concentration and being caught out of position – something which can be eradicated under the stewardship of an experienced campaigner like Silva.
The Brazilian has proven in the past to have the leadership qualities to nurture and bring out the best in his centre back partner, with compatriot David Luiz arguably the biggest benefactor.
The former Chelsea man’s first foray into English football ended after an indifferent three-year spell at Stamford Bridge. However, alongside Silva at the 2014 World Cup he looked solid and assured.
One time Luiz endured one of his customary collapses came in Brazil’s 7-1 trouncing at the hands of Germany in the semi-final – the first game of the competition where Silva wasn’t by his side, having been ruled out through suspension. Far from a coincidence.
Luiz went on to enjoy some of the best football of his career in France playing alongside Silva for Paris Saint-Germain, notching back-to-back Ligue 1 titles and securing himself an unlikely move back to the Premier League.
If Silva can influence Christensen, Tomori and in particular Zouma the way he influenced Luiz, Chelsea may well have some top defenders in their squad in years to come.
Yes, Thiago Silva can be the catalyst for Chelsea’s Premier League success, but no, it’s not going to be this season. Basically, Chelsea fans are kinda right, and non-Chelsea fans are kinda right. You may call it sitting on the fence, we call it being pragmatic.
Source : 90min