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Chelsea eye Lille's Leny Yoro as Thiago Silva replacement?

:Headline: Chelsea eye Lille's Leny Yoro as Thiago Silva replacement?:
Chelsea reportedly earmark Lille defender Leny Yoro as an ideal replacement for 39-year-old Thiago Silva, whose contract runs out at the end of the season.
Sports Mole

Chelsea have reportedly earmarked Lille centre-back Leny Yoro as an ideal replacement for the ageing Thiago Silva.

Now 39 years of age, Silva - who turns 40 in September - is in the final six months of his contract at Stamford Bridge and is primed to depart on a free transfer at the end of the season.

The Brazil international has defied his years since arriving at Chelsea from Paris Saint-Germain in 2020 and has made another 22 Premier League starts this season, but he has been an unused substitute in their last two matches.

With Trevoh Chalobah enjoying a revival alongside Axel Disasi, and Benoit Badiashile and Wesley Fofana also set to provide alternative options next season following injuries, Silva's time in West London appears to be nearing an end.

The former AC Milan defender has affirmed that he remains "super relaxed" about his future amid talk of a potential return to Brazil, but Chelsea are now said to be scoping out possible replacements.

According to the Evening Standard, Mauricio Pochettino's side have earmarked Yoro as an ideal successor to the Brazilian veteran, who is 21 years the Frenchman's senior.

The 2005-born Yoro has been on the books at Lille since 2017, and after officially being promoted to their first-team squad in the summer of 2022, he has become an integral performer for Paulo Fonseca during his teenage years.

Standing at 6ft 3in tall, Yoro has already made 49 senior appearances for Les Dogues, scoring three goals - all of which have come in the 2023-24 campaign - and registering one assist.

The 18-year-old has started each of Lille's last 23 games in Ligue 1, helping Fonseca's men keep a praiseworthy 14 clean sheets in the top flight, and he has also gleaned continental experience in the Europa Conference League.

Scouts are expected to run the rule over Yoro on Thursday, when Lille take on Sturm Graz in the second leg of their last-16 tie, already boasting a 3-0 aggregate lead from the opening encounter in which the defender played the full 90 minutes.

Thanks to his rapid rise in 2023-24, Yoro has now earned four France Under-21 caps from head coach Thierry Henry, and the 18-year-old will likely be one of the hottest defensive prospects on the market this summer.

However, Chelsea are facing intense competition for his signature, as Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool have also been credited with an interest.

Lille only have Yoro under contract until the summer of 2025 and will likely be forced to sell the defender this summer if he does not agree a new deal, but Chelsea are not putting all their eggs in one basket.

The report adds that Sporting Lisbon's Ousmane Diomande and Nice's Jean-Clair Todibo are alternative options, and the Blues are not concerned about potential Financial Fair Play breaches despite significant losses over the last two years, the latest being a £90.1m pre-tax loss for 2022-23.

Despite his re-integration into Pochettino's squad, Chalobah - who missed the first few months of the season through injury - could be one of a few home-grown players sold to help balance the books this summer body check tags ::

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Read more about Leny Yoro Thiago Silva Trevoh Chalobah Axel Disasi Benoit Badiashile Wesley Fofana Mauricio Pochettino Paulo Fonseca Thierry Henry Ousmane Diomande Jean-Clair Todibo Football
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