Barcelona’s European hopes dependent on Thiago Silva

Tito Vilanova’s desire to add to Barcelona’s options at the heart of defence has unsurprisingly reignited rumours of a bid for Paris St. Germain’s Thiago Silva.
The Brazilian is held in high regard at the Camp Nou after an inspired performance in Barca’s 2-2 draw with AC Milan in the Champions League in the 2011-12 season, as well as a pair of strong showings in PSG’s quarter-final away-goal defeat to Barca last season.

He was named in the UEFA Team of the Year in both 2011 and 2012, and was instrumental in the Milan side that secured the Serie A title in 2010-11, their first in seven years.

He has both the pace and the technical ability to thrive in Barcelona’s high defensive line, and with 39 caps for Brazil is used to playing in a side that cherishes possession of the ball; in footballing terms he represents a risk-free option for Vilanova.

Barcelona are 4/1 to win the Champions League, a price they will find hard to justify should they not strengthen in an area where they look light.

Club captain Carles Puyol is becoming increasingly injury-prone and has recently undergone knee surgery, while Gerard Pique has also had fitness issues. Midfielder Javier Mascherano has been forced to assume to the position, as has Sergio Busquets on occasion.

With the departure to Monaco of another auxiliary centre-back, Eric Abidal, a bid for Silva makes a huge deal of sense, and at 28, the Brazilian should be entering his peak years, and could provide a long term partner for Pique. The Brazilian would also bring leadership to the backline, which Barca have been accused of lacking in Puyol’s absence.

 

However, whether Barca possess the financial firepower to lure Thiago remains to be seen, especially after their £48.6 million recruitment of Neymar – rumours that in turn appear to be fuelling speculation of Cesc Fabregas’s mooted move to Manchester United.

Thiago Silva will inevitably cost a gargantuan sum. PSG paid €42 million for his services, but they showed a deference to established European powers in letting manager Carlo Ancelotti assume the reins at Real Madrid, which may encourage Barca. It is also hard to believe that the player himself would not welcome the move, despite his proclamations of loyalty to PSG.

The club will no doubt be researching alternatives, but if they are to usurp Bayern Munich at the top of European football, Silva must be their primary target.

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