Tiago's Reported Chelsea Return Shows Growing Wisdom in the Transfer Market

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2014

LISBON, PORTUGAL - MAY 23:   In this handout image provided by UEFA, Tiago of Club Atletico de Madrid attends a press conference ahead of the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid at Estadio da Luz on May 23, 2014 in Lisbon, Portugal.   (Photo by Handout/UEFA via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

The final whistle had blown over an hour before to confirm Atletico Madrid's place in a European Cup final for the first time since 1974.

All his teammates had already boarded the team bus that had earlier been mobbed by fans as it entered Stamford Bridge, but Tiago was still doing the rounds in the mixed zone, speaking with journalists as he recounted a historic win over Chelsea.

The Portuguese midfielder had captained the team that night, and he was eager to ensure he soaked up every last drop of the experience.

After a semi-final defeat to Liverpool as a Chelsea player, Tiago knows Champions League success doesn't come around too often—especially for a 33-year-old.

His performance with the media says a lot about his character, but not only that: It's moments such as big European nights—during the semi-finals, under the lights at any stadium on the continent—where we learn what players are really made of.

Tiago was showing his true colors off the pitch, whereas not so long ago, he had reminded Chelsea fans with his play on it what they had been missing after all those years when he departed on the back a solitary season at Stamford Bridge in 2004-05.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30:  Willian of Chelsea holds off Tiago of Club Atletico de Madrid during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match between Chelsea and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stamford Bridge on April 30, 2014 in London, England.  (
Clive Rose/Getty Images

The Blues may have struck first blood against Atleti when Fernando Torres scored, yet as the 3-1 score line on the night outlined, they were the inferior team.

Tiago's display ensured that much as he bossed the midfield, expertly shielding his defence to extinguish the Blues' attacking threat.

Jose Mourinho could have little complaint, and now as he ponders how to transform his team from also-rans to winners, it seems he is turning to his compatriot to help show the way.

The Daily Mail reports Chelsea will bring Tiago back to west London this summer on a free transfer from the recently crowned Spanish champions.

The same article suggests it's a move aimed at helping Diego Costa settle in London, with the Spanish striker expected to make a £38 million move this summer.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: Tiago of Club Atletico de Madrid consoles John Terry of Chelsea as Thibaut Courtois (L) looks on after the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match between Chelsea and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stamford Bridge on Apri
Clive Rose/Getty Images

It's about much more than that.

With David Luiz all set to join Paris Saint-Germain for £50 million, per The Guardian, suddenly, Chelsea look weak in defensive midfield once more.

John Obi Mikel isn't up to task, while Marco van Ginkel remains a raw talent along with others such as Nathan Ake.

Frank Lampard may yet be offered a new contract, but his abilities mean he is less inclined to build a solid defensive partnership with Nemanja Matic in the pivot.

Forced out of his position in defence on the back of Gary Cahill and John Terry's form, David Luiz was deployed more in midfield as 2013-14 reached it's climax, adding strength in the middle of the pitch.

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 10:  (L- R)Tiago of Chelsea is congratulated by team mate Frank Lampard after scoring Chelsea's first goal of the game during the FA Barclays Premiership match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on May 1
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

With £50 million bolstering the club's coffers, Chelsea can afford to spend lavishly as they look to replace the Brazilian. It would be folly, though, especially when that cash can be used more effectively elsewhere, notably on acquiring a left-back and more firepower up front.

Folly indeed when the likes of Tiago are available for nothing.

Should he arrive, Tiago's Chelsea return will be a measured move by Mourinho. Pragmatic, sure, but still a move that will serve Chelsea well.

With every big transfer a club makes, the expectation that new players will feature regularly comes with the territory.

Chelsea don't need to play that game anymore. They have stars in the making waiting for their chance—young players who can ill afford to see their paths to the first team blocked by another big-name arrival.

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 09:  Tiago of Club Atletico de Madrid celebrates victory during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Barcelona at Vicente Calderon Stadium on April 9, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

And Tiago bridges the gap for these youngsters.

Arsenal have made the mistake of throwing their young talent into the mix too early into their careers. Since Patrick Vieira left for Juventus in 2005, a steady stream of other senior players have departed, and the Gunners have struggled.

They lacked that bite of experience, and Mourinho isn't a man who will fall into a similar trap, urged on by the temptation to give his little horse a premature chance at success.

He knows better than that, and Tiago's potential transfer says it.

His aging years mean it's a move for the here and now where he is concerned, although it brings so much more elsewhere—financially and to the benefit of those academy graduates.


Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes


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