Amidst speculation that Thiago Silva will be the subject of a large bid from PSG, Milan have set their sights on Brazilian center back Dede. Needless to say, the loss of Thiago Silva would be crippling, especially after Alessandro Nesta, the Rossoneri's other starting center back, announced he will not be back at the San Siro next season. While Dede may not resonate as a familiar name to most fans, he has performed very well for club side Vasco da Gama since featuring for the club in 2009.
Considered one of the best center backs plying their trade in Brazil, Dede has established himself well in the Campeonato Brasileiro and has earned himself two caps for the Brazilian national team. The 6'3" center back has a contract with Vasco da Gama until 2014 and is valued by transfermarket.co.uk at 7.5 million euros, making him an affordable option.
He was elected as the best right-center back in Brazil's first division in 2010 and followed that performance up with winning best center back in Brazil for 2011 alongside his teammate Anderson Martins.
He's scored 17 times in 120 appearances for his club side which means he's quite prolific for a center back. To put that in perspective, he has a higher goals per game average than Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels. Although Hummels plays in a more difficult league than Dede, the scoring rate is still indicative of quality.
I haven't seen much full-game action, but he looks strong in the tackle as well as very good in the air, as his strike rate shows. He's also been an option at free kicks for Vasco, and while he would not be required to do so for Milan, it shows he has sound technical ability. He seems to get forward well as he finds himself in attacking positions with charging runs much like the aforementioned Thiago Silva.
As is always the case with targeting players in lesser leagues, players like Dede play less skilled attacking players than would be present in Serie A. While this is true, Dede performed very well against the Campeonato Brasileiro's best player in Neymar, as Dede frequently dispossessed Neymar and made him noticeably uncomfortable.
Dede even scored off a corner against Santos, which shows that he isn't afraid of the spotlight.
It can go without saying that Thiago Silva can't be replaced if he is to leave. He's consistently earned praise as one of the best center backs in the world and should PSG be able to pry him away from Milan, it would be very detrimental to an already depleted defense. Dede, should he come to Milan, would come under circumstances similar to Thiago Silva, as both were 23 at the time and won accolades in Brazil. We will see if a move comes to fruition as it is nothing but speculation right now; Vasco's president Roberto Dinamite has stated that no formal offer has been made.
Whether or not Thiago Silva is sold, Dede should still remain a target, as he would able to learn under the tutelage of Brazil's best center back in Silva and could provide Milan's back line with some needed reinforcements.