Thiago Silva: Brazilian Will Have Greater Impact at PSG Than Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The Ligue 1 runners-up have been chasing after Silva all summer, but ESPN reports that PSG and Milan are putting the finishing touches on a deal that would send both players to Paris for a €62 million fee.
Both Silva and Ibrahimovic are world-class players, but due to the positions they play and their respective ages, Silva will be the better buy.
As a center back, Silva fills a greater need for PSG. The team scored 75 goals in league matches last season, the most in France. But they allowed 41 goals, which tied them for fifth in Ligue 1.
PSG already has several quality attacking players like Jeremy Menez, Nene and Javier Pastore, and Thiago Motta will provide a creative spark in the midfield. While Ibrahimovic will likely be the best of the bunch, he will still have no shortage of talent around him.
Silva, however, will be expected to carry the defense. Mamadou Sakho, Milan Bisevac, Alex and Zoumana Camara all started at least 15 matches at center-back, and while none of them were terrible, none were all that impressive.
The Brazilian star is one of the best players in the world at his position. Silva joined Milan in December of 2008, and in every season since 2008-09, the Rossoneri have ranked first or second in Serie A in goals allowed.
His speed and athleticism ensure that the ball rarely gets over him and players almost never get behind him. He also possesses a soft touch and can spark an attack better than nearly any center-back on the planet.
Which player will have a better year for PSG in 2012-13?
At 27, he could be a fixture in the center of PSG’s defense for close to a decade if he can avoid injury and if the French club can keep him.
Center backs generally have longer careers than strikers. Paolo Maldini played for Milan until he was nearly 41, Fabio Cannavaro left Juventus at 36 and Carles Puyol continues to play for Barcelona at an elite level at 34.
Defenders can compensate for declining athleticism with positioning and savvy whereas strikers and midfielders need pace and burst to be effective. Ibrahimovic, who is 30 years old, likely has just a few years left in which he can play at an elite level.
While PSG did well for themselves by adding both players, Silva was a significantly better buy. He will help the team more this season and will be a top-class player for years to come.
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