After the decision to sell Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva in 2012, things ultimately went on a downward spiral for Milan.
In the near eight years since their departures, we’ve not come close to winning another Serie A title, have failed to qualify for the Champions League on countless occasions and our only trophy in that time was the Italian Super Cup in 2016.
SEE MORE: Five key talking points as Milan grind out deserved win over Torino
It sparked a general slide that we’ve not been able to turn around since, and while Ibrahimovic returned in January, speculation is suggesting that Silva may not be too far behind in sealing a comeback with Milan.
As per MilanNews.it, the Brazilian defensive stalwart’s agent left the door open to a possible second stint with us, as with his current contract with Paris Saint-Germain set to expire this summer, it could lead to an exit.
From a sentimental perspective, it would be wonderful to welcome Silva back to Milan. Given how influential he was for us and how popular he was with supporters, there is little doubt that many would love to see him return even at this late stage of his career.
Having made over 100 appearances for us between 2009 and 2012, winning a Serie A title and Super Cup, and establishing himself as one of the finest centre-halves in Europe, Silva was a joy to watch before his exit.
As seen in the Milan Talk poll below, 74% of those who voted did so in favour of a reunion with our former star this summer if it does become a genuine possibility, and to see him back with the Rossoneri so soon after Ibrahimovic’s return would be something special, simply speaking from the heart.
Presuming this will be one of the most one-sided polls I do, but…
Thiago Silva. A return this summer?#ForzaMilan 🔴⚫️
— Milan Talk (@MilanTalk1) February 20, 2020
However, the best football decisions are not often made without the head playing a pivotal role, and so the question has to be asked, would it be a sensible swoop from Milan?
The PSG perspective (PSG Talk)
“You wouldn’t think a 35-year-old centre-back would be a regular starter for a club like Paris Saint-Germain with seemingly unlimited resources, but Thiago Silva has been vital to the team’s success this season.
“Silva has made 29 appearances for PSG this season, which is far more than younger defenders like Presnel Kimpembe, Abdou Diaby, and Thilo Kehrer who have all struggled with injury at various times during the campaign.
“According to WhoScored, Silva has earned an average rating of 6.99 for his efforts this year. With his current contract set to expire in June, I have previously written that O’Monstro has done enough to earn at least a one-year extension. However, his recent performances should give pause to not only PSG executives but those at other clubs as well who are thinking about signing him.
“In late January, Silva suffered a groin injury and has yet to show he has fully recovered. Against Amiens SC recently, Silva was a step too slow and the Ligue 1 basement dwellers put three goals past PSG in the first half. Silva was eventually subbed off at halftime.
“Against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League, Silva was no match for speedsters Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland. Silva was constantly bailed out by Marquinhos, Marco Verratti, and even Layvin Kurzawa.
“Silva still has enough in the tank to contribute to a European club, but I’m not sure he can be a regular starter like he has been this season. Father Time is undefeated and Silva has a lot of miles on his legs.”
Still a key role to be played at Milan
It’s worth noting the warning above about Silva’s form since he returned from injury, but prior to that it sounds as though he was still making an important contribution for PSG.
He is now 35 and his best days are behind him, so it’s crucial not to allow the sentimental value of such a move be the overriding thought.
The key factor is whether or not he can still make a positive impact for Milan, just as Ibrahimovic has done since he returned last month, and there is arguably still a role for the Brazilian veteran to play for us.
Alessio Romagnoli is our captain and defensive lynchpin. The problematic position is next to him in the heart of our backline, and between Simon Kjaer, Mateo Musacchio and Leo Duarte, it could be argued that Silva could slot in ahead of them all still or could be a smart replacement.
Matteo Gabbia really could have a bright future ahead of him and it’s hoped that he can continue to develop and improve in the coming years to become a key part of the squad and his progress isn’t stunted. Who better though to learn from in training day in and day out than Silva, imparting his wisdom, experience and leadership onto Romagnoli too as he can certainly still get better as well, while being ready to step in and feature in their absence too.
Potentially available on a free transfer, if Silva proves his fitness and form between now and the end of the season and PSG decide to move him on, it would seem nonsensical from a Milan perspective not to swoop for him if he’s interested in a return.
Such a move would no doubt bring out tired old lines about us re-signing former stars who are now in the twilight of their respective careers. Putting that aside, if we could get the same level of influence and impact in defence with Silva as we have done at the other end of the pitch with Ibra, they could be two vital signings to add balance to the current squad and help the young players grow while giving us a more immediate boost too.
Off the pitch, the financial aspect will have to make sense too as a big-money contract for a 35-year-old wouldn’t be too clever. It would bring smiles to the faces of those who remember his first stint though, while perhaps appealing to some newer faces too given Silva’s standing in European and World football.
Caution with any move
That said, if Silva doesn’t improve in the coming weeks as he looks to fully recover from that injury, Milan should perhaps consider their options and look elsewhere.
The footballing and financial aspects of any deal need to make sense. If the pieces don’t fit, don’t sign a player deep into the latter stages of his career for sentimental value.
The Brazilian stalwart will forever be remembered fondly by Milan fans, but that can’t be part of the judgment when deciding whether or not to re-sign him. The hierarchy made the right decision bringing Ibrahimovic home, now time will tell if they do the same with Silva this summer.