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Transfer Talk: Silva homecoming could leave Poch feeling Blue
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Matthew Hill
LiveScore
Thiago Silva could soon be waving goodbye to Chelsea
Thiago Silva could soon be waving goodbye to Chelsea

Thiago Silva's time at Chelsea may be coming to an end — but not because of his advancing years.

Despite turning 39 last month, the Brazilian icon remains the Blues' most influential defender and has started every Premier League game since Mauricio Pochettino took charge during the summer.

However, with his current contract expiring at the end of the season, recent reports have linked him with a return to his boyhood club Fluminense.

Ahead of Chelsea's home clash with London rivals Arsenal on Saturday evening, we examine Silva's situation.

Options open

Asked about the Fluminense rumours while on international duty, Silva did not exactly rule out a switch.

Speaking to Globo, he said: "This relationship [with Fluminense] has been going on for a long time. 

"But I prefer to remain silent at this moment, as there has already been some controversy in the recent past. 

"I now have a family, I have children. So, we have to think about this aspect too.

"It's about seeing where things can bring us happiness, to finish this beautiful and successful career that I believe I have achieved."

Fine wine

Mauricio Pochettino has praised Thiago Silva's leadership qualities
Mauricio Pochettino has praised Thiago Silva's leadership qualities

At an age when most elite footballers have already hung up their boots, Silva remains as influential as ever.

Since joining Chelsea in August 2020, one-year contract extensions have followed like clockwork, with the veteran a rare mark of consistency during a turbulent period in West London.

Frank Lampard (twice), Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and now Pochettino have each brought their own ideas to the Stamford Bridge dugout but all have opted to build their backline around the 113-cap ace.

Pochettino selected Reece James as his new captain in August but made clear that he views Silva in a similar light.

The Argentine boss said: "When the player is clever like Thiago, who is nearly 39, do you think he is thinking about needing the armband? 

"He is a captain as well, like Reece and [Ben] Chilwell."

One of a kind

As reliable as Silva is defensively, it is his exquisite distribution that Chelsea will likely find hardest to replace.

In this season's Premier League, no player can match his 682 completed passes — and yet his passing accuracy of 95.92% is still better than any top-flight player to make more than three appearances.

Furthermore, with over 550 games at the pinnacle of European football, his experience is an invaluable asset for Chelsea's young prospects.

Fellow centre-back Benoit Badiashile explained: "Day to day, being next to him, I ask him an enormous amount of questions to the point where I must get on his nerves a little. 

"It's because he's so intelligent and he's someone extraordinary for someone of his age.

"It's such an honour to work with someone of that class. Everyone who works with him benefits from him and it helps us go to the maximum level."

Thiago Silva has been excellent for Chelsea so far this season
Thiago Silva has been excellent for Chelsea so far this season

Here and now

Few would begrudge Silva returning home for his career swansong, should that be his desire.

But given his reputation as a consummate professional, it is unlikely to impact the Champions League winner's focus on the current campaign.

After a rocky start, three straight wins in all competitions offer renewed hope that Pochettino's Blues can indeed compete for trophies this term.

A final piece of silverware would be a fitting farewell for their evergreen No6.

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