Exclusive: Chelsea earmark Thiago Silva as potential future manager in long-term coaching vision

Chelsea want to develop a coaching production line that could create a pathway for stars such as Thiago Silva to become a future manager at Stamford Bridge.

Blues chiefs want their multi-club ownership model to help develop the next generation of managerial talent.

Chelsea have recruited Enzo Maresca from Leicester as their new head coach, partly due to his apprenticeship under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

But the club is already looking at ways to ensure it can start influencing the development of future top coaching talent more directly itself.

Girona head coach Michel and Ange Postecoglou are shining success stories from Manchester City’s 12-strong global City Football Group (CFG), a set-up that Chelsea admire.

Michel has been linked with some top jobs in Europe after leading Girona to third place in LaLiga this season, while Postecoglou worked under CFG for Yokohama Marinos in Japan before moving to Celtic and then Tottenham.

Chelsea’s owners have been clear on building their own multi-club model ever since buying the club in 2022.

Club legend: Thiago Silva said when leaving Chelsea that he expected to return in future (Zac Goodwin/PA Wire)
Club legend: Thiago Silva said when leaving Chelsea that he expected to return in future (Zac Goodwin/PA Wire)

While wanting to be a conveyor belt for young playing talent, Chelsea also want that multi-club set-up to allow them to nurture and develop potential Blues head coaches in the long-run.

Silva left Chelsea at the end of the season after four years at Stamford Bridge, admitting that he hopes to return one day in an off-field capacity.

Chelsea would welcome the Brazilian defender back in a coaching capacity once his playing days are finished.

Silva is returning to his boyhood club Fluminense, where he will extend his remarkable playing career beyond his 40th birthday.

The centre-back was a clear leader at Stamford Bridge, but has also long since shown a natural aptitude for coaching in his analytical approach and tactical acumen.

The 2021 Champions League winner is already earmarked for a future backroom role at Stamford Bridge, but Chelsea see no reason why Silva cannot be a long-term head coach candidate.

Silva proved an overwhelmingly popular figure Chelsea and was given a memorable send-off after their 2-1 win over Bournemouth on the final day of the Premier League season. Fans produced a banner for Silva, who addressed the crowd with his family by his side.

Chelsea see great scope for his coaching development and, in a network of clubs in which he could coach, could help shape his off-field career from the outset.

BlueCo, the parent company of Chelsea, bought French club Strasbourg last summer as the first addition to its multi-club network.

Its plan to build up a network of clubs in different parts of the world will take time to put together, but City’s web of clubs is both wide and diverse.

Both Chelsea and Arsenal have now leaned on the mastery and influence of Guardiola’s coaching to recruit managers. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta developed at City as Guardiola’s assistant, while Maresca also worked alongside Guardiola at City.

Thiago Silva has long since shown a natural aptitude for coaching in his analytical approach and tactical acumen

Chelsea already offer a gold-standard coaching development set-up through their much-vaunted academy structure. But developing coaches to take charge at Premier League level represents an entirely different challenge.

The issue of how to provide young coaches with sufficient top-level experience remains tricky, but a network of clubs could provide a stepping stone for managerial progression.

Chelsea co-sporting director Laurence Stewart worked for the Red Bull multi-club group before his stint as technical director at Monaco.

The Blues boast plenty more off-field operators already well versed in the templates set up by the likes of CFG and Red Bull.

In the short to medium term the work towards these goals will be all logistics, planning and building infrastructure. Long-term, there could be a clear path for future Chelsea bosses to tread.