Premier League • England

Fluminense president confirms plan to strip Chelsea of top asset and leave gaping hole for Pochettino

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino

Fluminense president Mario Bittencourt has confirmed that he is looking to secure the signing of a Chelsea stalwart at the end of the current campaign.

At 39 years of age, Thiago Silva is seemingly closing in on the end of a remarkable career. However, he has shown this season that there is still life in those aging limbs with some impressive performances for Mauricio Pochettino’s inconsistent side.

The Brazilian has played in every Premier League game so far this term which, ideally, Pochettino would probably not have wanted at that age.

However, he is ‘Mr Consistent’ at Stamford Bridge and is a shining example to a number of young centre-backs now at Pochettino’s disposal.

Silva is once again expected to be given the nod again ahead of the likes of January signing Benoit Badiashile for the massive clash with reigning Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday.

But his long-term future in west London looks to be up in the air, with Bittencourt revealing to TNT Sports his desire is to sign the player back for one of the sides he enjoyed success with earlier in his career.

Bittencourt has claimed that his intentions are to bring him in when his contract at Chelsea comes to an end at the club.

He said: “I continue with this desire to bring him in. For the brilliant player he is, for his high performance at his age. That he’s a great Tricolor. I’m sure that one day he could play for Fluminense again.”

If that is to be the outcome then the younger defenders at Chelsea will need to soak up all that expertise while they still can from the Brazilian great.

However, the club’s future along their defensive line does look bright though, with the likes of Badiashile, Levi Colwill and Wesley Fofana already on board.

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Silva heaps praise of Pochettino

Silva, meanwhile, has also thanked Pochettino for getting his game back to the level he wanted after one or two slips last season.

“Pochettino has helped me a lot with my fitness,” he told The Guardian. “Not that I was complacent but I was in my comfort zone. It looks like everything is fine, and it feels fine, but he managed to get me out of that area.”

Silva also praised Pochettino for his willingness to listen, admitting he sees himself as an on-field manager of the club.

“On the pitch I’m already a bit of a manager, right?” he continued. “As I watch the game from the back, I see a lot of situations. And then I warn [the others] about certain situations. I talk to the staff, to Pochettino, so that we don’t make mistakes.

“Sometimes, only us on the pitch realise what’s wrong and what could be done better. And there are situations that those who are off the pitch, with a clear mind, see much better. This relationship is important.”

Chelsea will be looking to build on their impressive 4-1 rout of Tottenham on Monday, although the visit of City is an altogether more daunting prospect – especially given the current form Pep Guardiola’s men are in.

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