Thiago Silva joins Chelsea

Considering they did better than expected, and considering how well they played at times, it was surprising to look at the Chelsea squad once the dust had settled on this season and realise just how many areas needed serious upgrades.

A new first choice goalkeeper was desperately required, a new left back after Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri took turns under-performing for two seasons running, a strong central defensive presence to add some grit to a pathetically soft back-line, new players in the wide positions to replace the departing Willian and Pedro. Depth up front and in midfield.

It’s not often that you see a team outperform expectations, but still clearly show the need for major changes like that.

The club haven’t wasted any time in getting to work though, and Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech were recruited before last season had even concluded. The addition of Ben Chilwell from Leicester this week then ticked another box.

That left goalkeeper and centre-back as the most obvious remaining gaps in Frank Lampard’s squad, and today Chelsea secured Thiago Silva’s signature to try and fill one of those needs.

Of course the dream scenario would have been to sign a world class defender in their mid 20s, a natural born leader, a towering athlete who can get stuck in but also play calmly with the ball at his feet.

But those players don’t come around often, and they’re usually only found already playing for the biggest teams on the continent. If Chelsea had another £100m to spend, it’s still difficult to imagine who they would spend it on. There are just no outstanding candidates available, let alone for the kinds of fees that the Blues can afford after ploughing so much of their budget into other areas.

So the signing of Silva on a one year contract – a deal the club has the option of extending – seems like a shrew move. The team get the experienced defender they need, who can help the unquestionably talented but sometimes erratic younger players in Frank Lampard’s squad improve.

He will be 36 when the season starts, but as a temporary solution you won’t find any better. A player of generational quality with 89 Brazil caps, just one week ago he was superb in the Champions League final for PSG.

Unfortunately we’re ten years too late to sign the 25 year old Thiago Silva – but the 35 year old edition can still have a hugely positive impact both on and off the pitch, and to have him fall into our laps as a free transfer like this, just when the market for top-tier centre-backs looks a little thin, can only go down as another victory in what is turning into a perfect summer.

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