A year after a sensational swoop for Franck Ribery on a free transfer, Fiorentina DS Daniele Pradè seems to be testing the Bosman waters again, this time with PSG and Brazil star Thiago Silva. Gianluca di Marzio reports that the Viola have made contact with the former AC Milan defender, with Silva supposedly interested in a return to Italy after 7 years in Paris.
This seems to be a pretty common theme for the Viola under Rocco Commisso, who’s transparently explained his desire for high profile signings. Silva would certainly fit the bill; even at 35 years of age, he’s played at a high level in Ligue 1 this year, although the Qatari-owned outfit have declined to extend his contract due to the numerous youngsters waiting in the wings.
Silva may have lost a bit of his famous pace, but his reading of the game and timing in the tackle remain impeccable. His capacity for organizing the defense and adding to the attack with incisive distribution hasn’t diminished either, and, despite some whispers about his attitude—largely based on his loss of the armband for Brazil—he’s generally regarded as a real leader on and off the pitch. In short, he’d doubtless be an asset for the Viola, or for any club that wanted him.
The salary, as ever, is a sticking point. Silva supposedly earns about €12 million a year, and Fiorentina simply cannot afford anything near that; Ribery, the club’s top earner, makes about a third of that. Silva would obviously have to take a massive wage cut, and with Everton also in the running for his services with their Premier League cash, so the Viola may well not be able to keep up financially, and that’s without mentioning Toffees boss Carlo Ancellotti, with whom Silva is eager to reunited.
Too, adding a Brazil international with 88 caps would require a serious shakeup of the Viola backline. It’s hard to see this rumor as anything other than evidence that at least one of Germán Pezzella and Nikola Milenković are on their way out this summer, with Silva serving as a short-term replacement. Letting Igor and Luca Ranieri learn behind the best central defender of his generation for a year or two before graduating to the first team makes a lot of sense, although relying on the famously injury-prone duo of Silva and Martín Cáceres next year could be asking for trouble.
There’s a long way to go until we know what the transfer window will look like, much less whom Fiorentina is going to sign. If this rumor is true, though—and di Marzio is pretty reliable—it provides a glimpse into the club’s recruitment policy, which seems to be a mix of promising youngsters and waning superstars. Thiago Silva would fit that formula and would add quality to the team. It’s just a matter of convincing him to sign on the dotted line.