Reports : Chelsea already have ideal Thiago Silva replacement to avoid £165.8m summer transfer repeat

At this stage 12 months ago, it was looking like Chelsea were heading for crisis in the centre of defence. Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger were all nearing the final six months of their contract and it was beginning to look like none would extend their deals.

 

Eventually Christensen and Rudiger departed for free and Todd Boehly and co had a hefty task upon their arrival following the takeover to find replacements. Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana and Marc Cucurella were signed, and each have played in Chelsea’s back three this season. None have had the perfect start as Chelsea struggled, but their quality came at a cost with the Blues parting with a £165million.

 

Silva meanwhile, has played more minutes in the Premier League than any other Chelsea player this term, has turned 38 and once again is coming to the final six months of his contract. The Brazilian, currently at the World Cup, hinted that talks of a deal could begin before or after the tournament but conceded he hoped to have his future resolved to be able to plan for what is next.

 

 

The Blues had two players capable of playing in central defence preparing with the first team during the summer. Levi Colwill and Ethan Ampadu have both since headed out on loan rather than spend the season at Stamford Bridge with Thomas Tuchel opting for reinforcements.

 

Colwill spent some time training at the heart of defence during that period, but saw his preparations disrupted with injury and ultimately his path lay away from the club for this season. However, the Chelsea hierarchy were not willing to consider a permanent deal, seeing the youngster end up on loan at Brighton.

 

The 19-year-old has had to deal with a change of head coach and some very in-form competition since his arrival at the Amex Stadium but has made three starts including the Seagulls’ final two matches before the World Cup break. With stellar reviews accompanying outings as the left-sided member in a centre-back pairing for Robert de Zerbi, Colwill could be well placed when the Premier League returns.

 

However, his departure from west London came as a surprise for a figure who perhaps knows Colwill’s qualities better than most. Huddersfield sporting director Leigh Bromby, who brought the defender on loan to the Terries last term, believes Brighton is a good destination for the Cobham product, but suggests he will ultimately find himself in the first team.

 

He told the Athletic: “I’m surprised he’s not involved with Chelsea, but this is a logical step to go on loan in the Premier League and then make that transition to the first team. I know the boy is really ambitious and wants to play. He’s very intelligent and he knows he needs to go and play again this season.

 

“It looks, on paper, like a fantastic move, a great fit for him. If he does well this year, you can see him naturally going and playing for Chelsea and being a regular there.”

This summer showed it would not be easy for a defender to break through, with the club inclined to spend initially to strengthen, but Colwill will have another opportunity in the coming summer. He will likely be reassured that Graham Potter was happy to sign him in the summer, and will have the opportunity to assess him over an extended period of time.

 

That said, the summer’s business has not stopped Chelsea being linked to the likes of Josko Gvardiol. The challenge is never over when hoping to secure a place in the Blues’ first team. Bromby believes that Colwill’s talent and potential stands tall however.

He added: “There aren’t many left-footed centre-backs. He’s got a great chance. I think he’s got a big future ahead.

 

“Did we expect him to hit the levels he did? There was a real confidence because we told the coaches you’ll either be the coaches that played a future England international or the ones when he’s telling his story to the media that didn’t play him. We were pretty confident that he’s going to be a top player.”

 

The business Chelsea complete going forward will signal their confidence in Colwill’s ability. Not allowing the youngster to depart permanently in August was an obvious decision to make as well as a vote of confidence. If Silva does depart, the Blues’ next move may be more telling for the former Huddersfield loanee whose contract expires in 2025.

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