Thiago Silva has underlined his commitment to Chelsea and says he is confident of extending his time at Stamford Bridge into a fourth season.
The Brazilian has been the epitome of class since arriving from PSG in the summer of 2020. He achieved a lifelong ambition by winning the Champions League the following year and has consistently oozed quality and calmness in the heart of our defence, as well as building up a fantastic relationship with the Chelsea supporters who already have him down as one of our greatest.
It is little wonder, then, Thiago is so keen to remain in west London, and no surprise the club want to keep him beyond the end of the season during a time of ‘regeneration’, as Graham Potter put it in his press conference yesterday. The Brazilian provided the latest update on contract negotiations.
‘We are talking about it,’ he said.
‘Probably everything will happen in the next few days. My intention and the club's intention are the same: to stay together.
‘I know that the club needs me at this moment, I'm here to help, there are young players. I think that with my experience I can help in this process of rebuilding the club. I am here for this, willing to do this. But I know that my responsibility is huge. I know we have a lot of work ahead of us.’
When Thiago signed for Chelsea, shortly before his 36th birthday, he was given a one-year contract.
Two-and-a-half seasons and three trophies later, he admits he could not have imagined still plying his trade at Stamford Bridge, and at such a high level, too.
‘It was not about the exams I've been doing, but how I would perform these years. That was my great doubt, my great question. Not because of my capacity, but because we know that when you reach a certain age, you lose something physical.
‘I certainly did, but I try to minimise that loss, you know? And I'm very happy here. It's a club I feel very comfortable in. God willing, we'll go for a fourth season together, something that at the beginning I used to say: ‘We'll do one season, then we'll go to I don't know where’, you know? I'm already close to my fourth season and I'm very happy.’
To make that potential fourth season as productive as possible, Thiago is targeting a much-improved finish to this campaign and with it the possibility of securing a Champions League berth.
We go into tonight’s game against Fulham in 10th position, three places behind our west London neighbours. Victory would move us up to sixth ahead of the weekend slate, and Thiago has explained what this Friday night fixture means to him.
‘A fresh start. We're going to have to talk a lot. We're going to have to say that the season is starting again now. We can't make the mistake we made in the first half of the season, we need to start this comeback in a positive way.
‘If I'm not wrong, we've now got two important results, we haven't conceded a goal and that gives a sense of security to the players up front. I hope we start with the right foot, as we usually say, and finish the season in a dignified way, where Chelsea deserves to be, which is in the top four, fighting for the title.
‘We know that the title is very far away, but the top four is important for us to finish the season and we have the Champions League as well.’
Thiago also had words of praise for one friend who is a foe tonight. His and Willian’s Chelsea stories didn’t quite overlap, but they were Brazil team-mates for many years. For all the wonderful Brazilian imports English football has enjoyed over the years, none has featured more often in the Premier League than Willian.
‘Willian is special. This kid... I have a special affection for him, out of the expectations, as a person, as a player. Before he went to Corinthians, I tried to repatriate him, but unfortunately, things did not work out. I knew he was a very important player.
‘Congratulations to him for such an important milestone. It is not easy. He shows his quality more and more every day. In the last game of the first half he scored a goal against us. He's having important performances for Fulham. I hope now he can be more relaxed and that we can win this game!’