Chelsea came into the summer with the stated intent to rebuild the defense following the departures of Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen, and to complete the job that we started two years ago already — or, to be more clear, we put on hold two years ago by signing Thiago Silva as a stopgap.
Obviously, Silva’s turned out to be so much more than just a stopgap and, combined with the arrival of Thomas Tuchel (and his tactics), we’ve been able to delay this impending rebuild for a bit longer. But we won’t be able to do so forever, even if Silva is, in Tuchel’s words, “ageless”, and César Azpilicueta’s decided to stay for at least another season or two.
Alongside new arrival (but hardly young) Kalidou Koulibaly, our starting back-three on Saturday had a combined age of 100, and that’s not just a number.
“It is a lot of experience, it is maybe another of age, it is a lot of experience and they have their quality and they know what they are doing.
“We also need to make sure we have a new generation to take over in the next years but the guys are strong that is why they are under contract and the guys have our trust. There needs to be [balance]. I think it is necessary. The game in general is very physical and demands a lot. This is the situation. We knew it before.
“Azpi is the legend that he is, Thiago is in the moment still very important to us and when we had the chance to sign Kalidou we did it because we believe that he has some years ahead of him. But in general it is the fact that like the goalkeeper and the double sixes are in their thirties, and that is just what it is. Pace is an issue and speed is an issue. In all signings, this is the demand of the game that you can play one on ones, that you can defend space if needed with high-speed runs.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Evening Standard
Silva, Jorginho, and N’Golo Kanté are all in the final year of their contracts, too, further necessitating a defensive rebuild — if not this summer, then certainly in the next 12 months — and giving further weight to our current pursuit of Wesley Fofana as well.