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Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Marina Granovskaia masterstroke has paid off for Thomas Tuchel amid Chelsea takeover uncertainty

  As we enter another international break, beads of sweat are sure to be forming on the foreheads of Chelsea's medical staff as a large...


As we enter another international break, beads of sweat are sure to be forming on the foreheads of Chelsea's medical staff as a large chunk of Thomas Tuchel's first team squad fly around the world to train and play with their national teams. One such figure is 37-year-old Thiago Silva, who has joined up with Brazil to first face Chile in Rio de Janeiro, before travelling to take on Bolivia in La Paz.

The latter match takes place in the early hours of Wednesday morning (UK time), meaning Silva could return in time to face Brentford. His availability is often uncertain, given the recovery period needed, combined with the extensive travel trips to South American countries include. The veteran missed the last game against the Bees following October's international break for example.

In the FA Cup against Middlesbrough, Silva once again proved how important he was for the Blues, even against lower league opposition. The Brazilian showed his ability to play through the press in the build up to Chelsea's first goal, and has acted as the epitome of the professionalism the squad have delivered during trying times.

When he joined the Blues you would be forgiven for thinking the former AC Milan and PSG star would be winding down his career. Now, he's at the business end of his second term with the Blues and looking primed to play a vital role in a third season having extended his contact in January. The veteran defender told TNT Sports Brazil earlier this year:

"I feel like I'm living a dream here at Chelsea. I wasn't expecting something like that. The fans are always singing my name. It's magic, it's a dream. I'm really proud to play here for Chelsea and their supporters."

Silva's feelings are reciprocated. Anyone of a Blues persuasion will be praying he comes through the international break unscathed. There's little reason to doubt he will, his durability has proved itself over the course of this season.

It is still only March and the defender has already equalled the number of Premier League matches he featured in last term and his outing against Middlesbrough saw him make his 35th appearance, one more than he did in the entirety of last season.

Returning from the Copa America, Tuchel opted to slowly reintroduce Silva to the team as he missed the UEFA Super Cup final and opening two Premier League matches. Since that moment he has only missed cup matches and a further four league matches. Only Antonio Rudiger, Edouard Mendy and Jorginho have played more minutes for the Blues this season.

It should come as little surprise that Marina Granovskaia cited Silva's 'experience, leadership and performances' when announcing his new deal at the start of the year. Those characteristics have only proved more vital in recent weeks.

As time goes on the decision only looks wiser with Silva's future secure while Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen still have deals set to expire in the summer. When Roman Abramovich announced his intention to sell the club, the willingness of a new regime to either provide the finances to agree new deals or sign replacements became uncertain .

When sanctions were placed on Chelsea's Russian owner, the Blues lost the ability to offer new contracts at all. The instability of the situation could impact any negotiation as even with a takeover on the horizon, discussions are pushed closer to the deals' expiration. By getting Silva to sign on the dotted line, the Blues avoided any such issues with him.

The security of having Silva's presence secured for 2022/23, replicates the assuredness he displays on the pitch. There is no concern of where he will ply his trade next season, and he will be at the heart of the Blues defence once again.

There are plenty of valid reasons why the likes of Rudiger and Christensen entered the final year of their deals, even the final six months, but the lack of resolution has left the Blues in a problematic position - one that cannot be solved in the current predicament. Whoever is in place in any new hierarchy must learn from the success of tying Silva down.

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