Antonio Silva: Chelsea told to repeat Enzo Fernandez trick to sign star who frustrated Messi

Robin Bairner
Lionel Messi, Enzo Fernandez, Chelsea, 2023/24
© ProShots

Antonio Silva of Benfica is the player that Chelsea have their eyes set on to strengthen their defence in the months ahead.

The Blues under Todd Boehly have not been known for shying away from youngsters with big reputations, and there are few defensive prospects who command such hype as the 20-year-old star.

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Antonio Silva already has seven Portugal caps to his credit while he “pocketed Lionel Messi” in one of his first matches as a professional.

Indeed, PSG were so impressed with the manner in which the defender handled Messi that they were one of a number of clubs, including Liverpool and Newcastle, who took an interest in him during the summer.

Manchester United, meanwhile, are reportedly eyeing the player with a view to moving in the summer.

Chelsea, though, are eager to beat all these sides to the player and watched him during Benfica’s 3-0 win over Famalicao last weekend, according to The Sun.

Chelsea in Antonio Silva transfer talks

Chelsea have already offered Benfica €60 million plus striker Armando Broja for Antonio Silva but this was knocked back, according to The Sun.

Indeed, it will take the Blues matching Silva’s release fee in order to sign him. This is thought to stand at around €100m.

Benfica's Antonio Silva in action for Portugal
© ProShots – Benfica’s Antonio Silva in action for Portugal

Chelsea have shown a willingness to make such bold moves in the past, even doing so with Benfica in January 2023. A year ago, they triggered Enzo Fernandez’s release fee in order to sign the World Cup winner from the Portuguese side, even paying slightly above the odds in a move that allowed them a better payment schedule.

Would the Blues be willing to adopt a similar strategy here?

Antonio Silva’s form has diminished this season after his spectacular first season, with his Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) dropping from a peak of nearly €50m back to €31.7m.

This is reflective of a slowing in the development of his game, although that is not to say that the ball-playing defender is struggling.

Antonio Silva vs Liga Portugal defenders: 2023/24

+ António Silva

Data analytics experts SciSports show that he is still among the best centre-backs in Portugal, although he has dropped back from being one of the best four or five in his debut campaign.

As such, the €100m release clause, which would have looked very attractive had he continued his trajectory from the first season, no longer looks such good value.

Chelsea have shown in the past, though, that may not be enough to put them off.

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