Premier League • England

Chelsea warned they’ll be EVEN WORSE next year after star’s confirmed exit stuns pundit

Pundit Owen Hargreaves

Owen Hargreaves is baffled by Chelsea's decision to let a 'priceless' star go

Owen Hargreaves fears Chelsea have made a fatal mistake by allowing a “priceless” star to leave this summer, though the player himself has stated he could return.

It’s been another miserable campaign for the Blues who look destined to miss out on European qualification once again. Chelsea currently sit ninth in the table and in purely points terms, are as close to bottom side Sheffield United as they are to league leaders Arsenal (32 point gap both ways).

The domestic cups would have provided Chelsea with a route back into Europe. However, there was more familiar Wembley heartache in both competitions.

Chelsea’s decision to invest in young stars with high potential has not paid dividends so far. The club appear to be suffering from a lack of leaders, as evidenced by the likes of Nicolas Jackson and Noni Madueke squabbling over penalty-taking duties a few weeks ago.

By far Chelsea’s most experienced campaigner is Thiago Silva, though news broke on Monday of the veteran Brazilian departing at season’s end.

Chelsea seemingly did not offer the centre-half a new deal and the classy 39-year-old will bide his time before deciding his next move via free agency.

TEAMtalk learned AC Milan rejected the chance to re-sign Silva. The likeliest outcome at present is Silva returns to Brazil to join boyhood club Fluminense.

But according to pundit Owen Hargreaves, Chelsea are making a grave mistake by letting Silva walk.

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“They need more, not less of them!” – Hargreaves on Silva

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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Silva could return to Chelsea, but not to play

Silva confirmed his impending exit in a video posted to Chelsea’s official media channels.

A tearful Silva stated: “Obviously, when I started here, it was during the pandemic so there wasn’t any fans in the stadium,” said Silva.

“But through social media, it became something very special to me and then when the fans started coming back to the stadium and life was getting back to normal, I started to feel a lot of affection and respect for my story and for my start here.

“It is already hard saying goodbye in the most normal of circumstances but when there is a mutual love, it’s even harder. But once a Blue, always a Blue.

“The way in which I came to the club, with the support of the club, I got to the club as a leader even though I didn’t feel like it having arrived as the new guy.

“It’s always difficult to integrate but bit by bit I became part of the group and (Frank) Lampard played a big part in that. I am grateful to him for that. [It’s been a] dream, definitely a dream.

“Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I could achieve such great things and win one of the best professional titles, the Champions League, at one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“Goodbyes are for those that leave and don’t come back. I intend on coming back one day…”

Explaining in what capacity Silva could return top Stamford Bridge, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano clarified on X: “Thiago Silva really plans to return to Chelsea one day in non-playing role to be part of the club.

“He loves Chelsea and London, same for his family and kids in the academy. Silva had an important proposal from abroad in January but he rejected to help Chelsea until the end.”

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