Premier League • England

Chelsea strike agreement with Premier League’s classiest player to tee up titanic Arsenal battle

Arsenal stars Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka and Chelsea defender Thiago Silva

Chelsea have forged a ‘full verbal agreement’ and been given Fabrizio Romano’s ‘here we go’ confirmation over a critical deal that’ll lay the foundations for a Premier League title charge next season.

The Blues have already forked out over £500m on new signings since Todd Boehly and his Clearlake partners took charge. The benefits of such a hefty expenditure are yet to be felt, with Chelsea languishing down in ninth position.

However, once the new stars are settled, Graham Potter will fancy his chances of muscling in on the title race next season.

A new centre-forward could complete Potter’s puzzle and the Blues are known to retain interest in Man Utd target, Victor Osimhen.

However, arguably of even greater importance is ensuring Chelsea’s biggest and most influential stars at the club are retained.

One player who was in danger of departing was classy centre-half Thiago Silva.

The veteran Brazilian continues to play at an elite level despite being 38 and has even shown he isn’t vulnerable when playing in a back two as opposed to a three of late.

Indeed, he’s quickly struck up a fine understanding with January signing Benoit Badiashile. Chelsea are yet to conceded a goal in the three matches in which Silva and Badiashile have lined up at centre-half.

That pairing is clearly Potter’s finest and will be the bedrock behind everything Chelsea do well going forward.

Now, according to Fabrizio Romano, the partnership can continue for at least one more year.

Thiago Silva agrees Chelsea extension

Silva’s contract was due to expire at season’s end, but per the transfer guru, a ‘full verbal agreement’ over a one-year extension has been forged.

Silva will extend his stay until the summer of 2024, with Romano giving the news his signature ‘here we go’ confirmation.

With Silva poised to extend his stay, the unflappable veteran will have his eyes set on mixing it up with the likes of Arsenal atop the table next season.

The Gunners are on course for their first Premier League title since 2004. They hold a five-point gap over the crisis-stricken Man City and also have a game in hand. Man Utd are seven points behind the Gunners, though have played two extra games.

Arsenal continued to back Mikel Arteta in January and through the signings of Jakub Kiiwior, Leandro Trossard and Jorginho, their depth was significantly strengthened.

Arteta will believe this season is far from a one-off. Though with Silva to continue marshalling the troops at Stamford Bridge amid a series of high profile additions, Chelsea are primed to re-enter the equation next term.

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