Blues boss Mourinho hoping to re-sign Tiago for free
Champions League runner-up Tiago is out of contract this summer at Atletico Madrid, and looks set to move to former club Chelsea (2/1 Premier League 2014/15 second-favourites) on a free transfer.
The 33-year-old signed on at Stamford Bridge in 2004 and played there for just one season under current Blues boss Jose Mourinho, where he won the Premier League, League Cup and Community Shield.
Tiago was an important part of that Chelsea team that campaign, and a highlight for him was scoring a screamer against Manchester United after winning the league, but moved on to Lyon three months later.
Despite being injured and starting the season in a bit-part role for Atletico, the Portuguese central midfielder became a crucial part of the club’s success this term, and captained them on occasion.
He played the full 120 minutes of the agonising Champions League final loss with arch-rivals Real Madrid, as well as starting Atleti’s last five La Liga matches, where he helped them secure their first top-flight title since 1996. Diego Simeone’s side are priced at 6/1 to defend their league crown.
Chelsea are also looking likely to sign Tiago’s clubmate Brazilian-born Spain striker Diego Costa for a reported £38m fee, and the duo could replicate their success once more, but in the Premier League.
Tiago still has the quality even at his age, and would be an excellent addition to perhaps support Nemanja Matic deeper in midfield, with Frank Lampard’s future uncertain. He has retired from international football, so the player will have no World Cup distractions, while Mourinho tries to get his man.
The Blues will seemingly have a lot of money to spend this summer, and even more so following the probable £40m departure of David Luiz to French champions PSG.
It seems that Atletico boss Simeone already has a ready-made replacement for Tiago, who has been at the club since 2010 – initially on loan – in 19-year-old Saul Niguez. The youngster has just returned from a season at Rayo Vallecano, and looks likely to play a part next term, if the club can hold off advances from Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton.