For any top club in Europe, there is never a good time to lose your captain and best defender, but it is safe to say that Paris Saint-Germain will be fine without Thiago Silva for the four to five weeks.
With the resources the Parisian club have at their disposal, plus the challenges they will face in the next four to five weeks and, of course, the timing of the injury, the injury could have actually come at the best possible time for coach Laurent Blanc.
Both the player and Blanc came under a lot of criticism for how Silva picked up his injury. Brazil’s captain had just returned to training for PSG, he had only managed three training sessions plus he played the full 90 minutes against Stade de Reims in the opening day of the season.
That was on the Friday evening, then he was asked to start beside new signing David Luiz on the Monday night in a friendly match against Napoli in the Stadio San Paolo. This was the embodiment of a meaningless fixture, but it was Blanc’s first chance to play his €95 million centre-back pairing together.
After just 13 minutes, Silva tried a backheel to get PSG out of trouble, he connected with the ball but instantly pulled up. Initial thoughts were that the defender had pulled his right hamstring, but further diagnosis revealed that once again he had injured his right thigh muscle.
This is the same injury that kept him out for around three weeks last season. Silva played 28 out of PSG’s 38 league games last season. He played some through injury and was given a rest at the end of the campaign as he prepared to lead Brazil at the World Cup.
In his two full seasons with the French champions, Silva has yet to play over 30 league games in a season. Since he moved to Europe in 2009, this is actually the third time he will be out due to his right thigh muscle.
With the injury coming at the start of the campaign, there should be calls for Blanc to take his time and help Silva get back to 100 percent, even if it means missing a few games more than expected.
If the projected timescale for recovery is correct, he would miss league games against Evian away, Saint-Etienne at home, Rennes away and he could be back for the match against Lyon at the Parc des Princes.
He could also miss the matches against Caen and Toulouse and then come back fully fit for the high-profile game against Monaco in the first week of October.
Keeping their captain out for that length of time would mean that Silva would miss the first two games of their Champions League group stage. That would be the big decider for the Parisians, but it would all depend on who they were given in the draw and the order of the games.
PSG will be seeded in the first pot of teams, so they shouldn’t have too much trouble in progressing in first or second place. More importantly, they would hopefully welcome Silva back into the team with a proper rest and fully recovered, ready to lead PSG into the latter stages of the competition.
Of course, it is not ideal to go without one of your best players for any period of time, but Blanc has the players available to him to make it work.
The league won’t be a problem, PSG have at least 22 players who could all play and start every league game, and they would still be head and shoulders above the other 19 sides in the league. It just so happens that they have one of the best young defenders in Europe who can come in and deputise.
Marquinhos signed for PSG from Roma for €35 million last summer. He started 17 games last season and showed a lot of promise once he settled into the side. Blanc should have no qualms over pairing the 20-year-old defender with his countryman David Luiz for the next two months.
Barcelona were very keen on signing Marquinhos this summer, reported by Tom Conn of Inside Spanish Football, but keeping him in Paris was one of the best pieces of business the French club have done this year. The young Brazilian has the potential to be as good as Silva in the next four years, and given more high-profile games, PSG will benefit from his progress.
Thiago Silva struggled with his form during the last few months of last season. The rest should do PSG’s captain a whole lot of good, give him time to recover from the World Cup and get rid of the thigh injury.
He is on the verge of being labelled as injury-prone; bringing him back too soon would do much more damage than what they would gain long-term.
Blanc would love to have his captain in his lineup to kick off the season, but it is much better to lose the player at this stage of the season rather than risk another flare-up near the end of the season, when undoubtedly they will need Silva more than they do right now.
Losing your captain would be a blow for any side, but the champions are very well-placed to cope with his absence. There is little doubt, at this time of the season, that PSG will be fine without Thiago Silva.