Thiago shrugs off age concern; Mendy on brink of Blues switch - GulfToday

Thiago shrugs off age concern; Mendy on brink of Blues switch

Edouard Mendy

Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is set to become Chelsea’s seventh senior signing of a hectic summer. Reuters

London: New Chelsea signing Thiago Silva has shrugged off concerns that he might struggle to adapt to the extreme pace of the Premier League, insisting “age is just a number”.

The veteran Brazil defender joined Frank Lampard’s side from Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer last month after suffering defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.

The centre-back, who turned 36 on Tuesday, brushed off concerns he would struggle to come to terms with the speed of the English top-flight.

“Physically I feel really good,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “Age is just a number on your document. Physically, I feel very young. I’m very well prepared for this.”

The former AC Milan player, who is expected to make his debut in Chelsea’s League Cup match against Barnsley on Wednesday, said the Premier League had not previously held great appeal for him.

“My impression of the football played was that it was long balls, high balls, long shots and at the time I couldn’t really see myself playing in that championship,” he said.

But he said he felt the nature of the football played in England had changed, with more emphasis on technical quality and the ball played on the ground.

“Little by little, Premier League football won me over,” he said. “Anyone that knows me can confirm that and now, at 36, I’m arriving to play in the best championship in the world.”

MENDY TO JOIN: Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is set to become the seventh senior signing of a hectic summer.

Mendy is expected to complete his move to Chelsea from Rennes on Tuesday, Stamford Bridge boss Frank Lampard has confirmed.

The 28-year-old was undergoing a medical with the London club, with Lampard indicating the deal should be completed shortly afterwards.

Mendy’s arrival will provide competition for Spain goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who has struggled for form and confidence.

The giant stopper will join Chelsea in a deal reaching a reported £20 million ($26 million), which would take the club’s spending in the summer transfer market to around £220 million.

“Mendy’s having a medical as we speak, so, subject to that being OK, later on he’ll become our player at that point,” Lampard said.

“With Mendy coming in, it’s more competition, so every reaction will have to be positive around that from Kepa. Mendy as he comes in himself will push to try and play in this team, we know that.”

Agence France-Presse

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