Premier League • England

Chelsea blushes spared as Thiago Silva rejects Prem rival and signs with major trophy winners

Chelsea centre-back Thiago Silva

Chelsea centre-back Thiago Silva has verbally agreed his next move

Thiago Silva has declined the opportunity to sign with another club in London and the Chelsea star has instead verbally agreed a deal with one of his former clubs, according to a top source.

Silva, 39, will leave Chelsea as a free agent when his contract expires this summer. The classy Brazilian is among the greatest centre-backs of his generation and despite only arriving in England aged 35, made a major impact at Stamford Bridge.

Silva helped Chelsea win the Champions League in 2021 and was also named the club’s player of the year for the 2022/23 campaign.

Whether he’d continue playing on or hang up his boots was a decision thrust upon Silva when it became apparent Chelsea would not offer a contract extension beyond the current season.

TEAMtalk exclusively learned a return to AC Milan had been explored by the Serie A side. However, Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who serves as a senior adviser at the club – blocked the move due to concerns over Silva’s age.

We then learned figures within Chelsea harboured doubts over whether letting Silva walk was the right thing to do.

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What’s more, the prospect of Silva lining up against Chelsea next season emerged when Marco Silva’s Fulham showed interest in tabling a one-year deal.

However, according to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea’s blushes have been spared after Silva verbally agreed to sign with boyhood club Fluminense.

Fluminense hit the headlines for all the right reasons last year when winning the Copa Libertadores for the very first time. That competition is the South American equivalent of Europe’s Champions League.

Silva to sign with Fluminense until 2026

Taking to X, Fabrizio Romano revealed a verbal agreement has been struck and Silva will sign a deal running until 2026.

Romano wrote: “BREAKING: Fluminense are set to sign Thiago Silva as free agent! Verbal agreement in place between parties.

“Contracts are being prepared and plan is to get it signed in the next weeks. Deal will be valid until June 2026. Here we go, coming soon.”

Silva has racked up over 800 career appearances in club football alone. 151 of those came with Chelsea and his free agent signing four years ago will be looked back on as a shrewd acquisition by the Blues.

Factoring in Silva’s 113 caps for Brazil, the centre-back may yet rack up 1,000 appearances in senior football if he remains injury free at Fluminense.

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Chelsea blasted for letting Silva go

One figure within the game who believes Chelsea could get even worse without Silva in their ranks is pundit Owen Hargreaves.

Speaking to Premier League Productions, the ex-England international declared: “Chelsea should keep him on. I think they should.

“The reason why they are struggling this season is because they have no leaders. No experienced players.

“They need more, not less of them! Won the Champions League and been one of the best centre-backs of all time, to mentor all those brilliant young centre-backs they have. [Levi] Colwill, [Benoit] Badiashile and [Axel] Disasi.

“Those guys are priceless in the dressing room to have. A guy like Thiago Silva, who has been there and done it, he doesn’t fold in the big moments. He can still play.

“It’s so important to have mentors when you come through – that guy would be the best mentor ever.”

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