Pitchside Europe

The ex-Chelsea star it would make ‘perfect sense’ for Mourinho to re-sign


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The rumour mill is in full swing currently as the media tries to fill the gap between the end of the season and the start of the World Cup, and with Jose Mourinho planning a minor overhaul of his squad, it's no surprise that Chelsea are at the forefront of transfer speculation, alongside Manchester United.

The latest name to be tipped with a switch to Chelsea is that of Tiago, a former player under Mourinho in his first stint at Chelsea and current player for Atletico Madrid, who is out of contract at the end of the season and available on a free transfer, pending negotiations with Los Rojiblancos.

Squawka takes a look at whether Tiago would indeed prove a shrewd signing for Chelsea, and where he would fit into Mourinho's system at the club.

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Tiago Mendes (Atlético)

Tiago Mendes (Atlético)

Where does he play?

Tiago is a central midfielder for Atletico Madrid, often filling the holding role in the middle of the pitch, with him and captain Gabi providing the shield in front of the defence.

Often sharing the duties with Mario Suarez, Tiago's role in the side was an important factor in Atletico having the best defensive record in La Liga as they won their first Primera title since 1996 and came within seconds of lifting their first ever European Cup trophy, before Sergio Ramos broke their hearts.

Tiago's tough tackling style saw him 58 tackles in his 23 Primera appearances and make 21 in just seven Champions League displays, as provided the perfect midfield platform for the creative genius of Koke and Arda Turan to do their thing at the other end of the park.

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Tiago Duels In La Liga

Strengths and Weaknesses

Tiago comes with a wealth of experience having now reached the age of 33 and has all the qualities needed to prove a success in the Premier League, having already played for Chelsea for one season and Mourinho having claimed at the time that allowing the Portuguese midfielder to leave was a mistake.

There's no way that Tiago would shy away from the physicality of the Premier League now after questions were raised last time, with only 18 players having won more tackles in the Champions League this season, despite him only playing half of the games in the competition, with his average of three tackles per game bettered by only a handful of players.

His tackling success is just as impressive in the league and his reading of the game is perhaps his best display of his maturity, with Tiago having made 60 interceptions in just 23 league appearances for Atletico.

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Tiago Defensive Actions In La Liga

The only minor downside to his midfield game is that he is unlikely to provide a great deal in the offensive third of the pitch, with Tiago having only created 11 chances throughout the league season, providing just one assist and scoring just the two goals, though his presence at set-pieces could prove useful, given a 61 per cent success rate in aerial duels.

How will he fit into Chelsea's system?

Jose Mourinho has preferred to field a 4-2-3-1 formation since returning to Chelsea and with this having been favoured at Atletico Madrid, Tiago would take little to no adjustment to fit into life back at Stamford Bridge.

David Luiz is on the verge of leaving and with Kurt Zouma already having claimed the vacant centre-back berth, there is still room in the midfield for defensive minded cover, and the Portuguese man would fit that billing.

Nemanja Matic was signed at great expense in January , but with John Obi Mikel still likely to leave - with Inter Milan mentioned as a possible destination - the signing of Tiago would help compensate for that loss and even Ramires could find his place in the starting line-up under threat after an underwhelming campaign last season.

The presence of Tiago would give Matic more license to roam forward in the way he was prone to at points last season, and his tactical discipline will be something that will appeal to Mourinho, given how much of a stickler he is for work-rate in his players.

Memorable Moment

Possibly Tiago's finest hour in the campaign just finished probably came in the Champions League quarter-final second leg, as Atletico triumphed 1-0 at home to secure a 2-1 aggregate victory over Barcelona.

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Tiago Tackles vs Barca (Champions League Semi-Final Second Leg)

Barca controlled much of the match, but Tiago was a major factor in Atletico's ability to hold on, making five successful tackles and four interceptions to limit Barca to a small amount of chances in the game, probably cementing his place in the Champions League final as well.

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Tiago Interceptions vs Barca (Champions League Semi-Final Second Leg)

Stand Out Stat

Tiago has displayed his fantastic reading of the game throughout the season by making 60 interceptions in La Liga this season and a further 27 in his seven Champions league displays.


Jose Mourinho has already suggested that Financial Fair Play rulings from UEFA have restricted some of his movements in the transfer market, so with this position most likely being more of a back-up option, it will warm his cockles to know that this is a free transfer.

Out of contract and with Tiago now 33 years of age, paying a transfer fee would probably have been an unlikely move given that Ashley Cole did not warrant a new deal and Frank Lampard could yet follow him out of the exit door.

So with no transfer fee to pay and Tiago unlikely to demand extortionate wages given his modest salary at Atletico, Tiago provides excellent value for money.

The Final Verdict

Despite Tiago's rapidly advancing years, this is a deal that makes perfect sense for Chelsea and could prove one of the shrewdest moves in the transfer window by any club.

In terms of providing back-up and a mentor for Matic, Tiago will not demand to be a guaranteed member of the first-team and won't disrupt team harmony, but when called upon, he will provide excellent and energetic displays, an ideal player for those trickier away matches against title rivals.

With no fee to pay, Chelsea can concentrate their available funds on addressing the nagging striker issues at the club and given his knowledge of the league and club already, Tiago will slot right in and give Mourinho a sterling option to field. Depending on how much he plays, he could be one of the signings of the season.

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