Chelsea first transfer under Enzo Maresca agreed as Thiago Silva replacement found

Former Chelsea defender Thiago Silva
-Credit: (Image: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Chelsea are closing in on making Tosin Adarabioyo their first summer signing, understands. The Blues are still waiting to announce Enzo Maresca as their new head coach following Mauricio Pochettino's departure, but it has not stopped the co-sporting directors from being busy.

Adarabioyo will leave Fulham at the end of the month when his contract expires and is now looking likely to join Chelsea. Despite Newcastle leading the race for the English centre-back it appears that he will be on his way to Stamford Bridge instead.

The 26-year-old is now expected to sign for Chelsea after they became the clear favourites. Negotiations for a deal are at the final stages.

For Chelsea it comes after the exit of Thiago Silva. He played his final game for the club on the last day of the season against Bournemouth.

After four years on the books following his own free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, Silva will return to Brazil to finish his career. It leaves a gap in the squad for a new defender even with Trevoh Chalobah's impressive form.

He is up for sale yet again and is deemed an attractive option to let go by the club due to the financial benefits of selling academy players. He would represent 'pure profit' in an accounting sense if sold. Adarabioyo's arrival is not expected to impact Chalobah directly though, has learnt.

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Chelsea will enter the Maresca era with Benoit Badiashile, Levi Colwill, Wesley Fofana, and Axel Disasi as senior options as well. Fofana missed the entirety of last season due to injury though whilst Badiashile was out for period with his own problems. Colwill struggled throughout 2024 with fitness issues too.

AC Milan are interested in signing Badiashile as well despite the Frenchman only arriving in January 2023 and showing glimpses of promise. Academy graduate Alfie Gilchrist is primarily a centre-back himself but was used largely on the right side by Mauricio Pochettino in his first taste of senior football.

As a possible incoming Adarabioyo brings 78 Premier League appearances for Fulham as well as experience in the Championship at Blackburn and West Brom during his development. He cut his teeth at Manchester City though and has ties to not only Cole Palmer and Romeo Lavia even though he is significantly older than the pair, but also recruitment chief Joe Shields.

Shields has a track record of delivering Chelsea players he has worked with in the past and also has links to Maresca from his own time in the City academy. Adarabioyo was briefly in the City system at the same time as the incoming manager but never played under him and was only there for two months alongside him.