It was only a matter of time before the Premier League saw yet another talisman leave. Over the last few seasons, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have all moved on to pastures new. It is no surprise then, that this week it was announced that John Terry would be following in the footsteps of his former Chelsea team-mate Lampard, after confirming he will be leaving the reigning champions at the end of the season.
There is no doubt when Lampard left Stamford Bridge, there was a great deal of sadness around the club for a midfielder who had given so much to the club in 13 years. When Terry is set to play his final game this season, there’s no doubt there will be similar; if not perhaps even greater, emotion around the Bridge.
There are a number of aspects to Terry’s game that the current crop of players will miss at Chelsea. The first is his quality as a defender. There have been numerous occasions during his 16 years at the London-based club where he has rescued his side – whether it be down to last ditch tackles or even when he’s had to step in goal for the remainder of a game, such as that infamous fixture against Reading back in 2006 which resulted in injuries for both Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini.
As well as being an excellent defender, Terry is also a proficient leader on the field. He was made Chelsea captain in 2004 and within two years, claimed the armband for England, replacing David Beckham. The majority of captains on the field are born leaders, and Terry has no doubt proved that over the years, leading Chelsea to a record-breaking season during Jose Mourinho’s first year at Chelsea and being one of the most influential figures on the pitch during a game.
There is no doubt Chelsea will miss his leadership skills. To be honest, it is hard to see who will take over the captain’s armband at the Bridge, as they lack many true leaders. It is a similar story to what happened at Liverpool last season, with Steven Gerrard leaving Anfield for LA Galaxy. Even though Jordan Henderson has taken the armband; and was captain at Sunderland before moving to Liverpool, he doesn’t quite seem to have the same leadership skills and influence on the pitch as Gerrard did. It is probable that Chelsea will suffer the same fate when their very own ‘captain fantastic’ leaves.
With a player of John Terry’s skill and ability, he will not be an easy man to replace in the Chelsea line-up. There are only two other central defenders currently in the first-team contention, and both have had their fair share of playing experience so far this season – Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma. That would certainly suggest that in order for Chelsea to find a suitable replacement for Terry, they may need to delve into the transfer market in the summer.
There are a few realistic targets out there who could be persuaded to join Chelsea. For example, Mats Hummels; one of the most sought after defenders in European football, is a man who has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs in recent years. He’s proven his skill at Borussia Dortmund and has also showcased his leadership skills with him being the club captain, so he would be an ideal candidate to replace Terry at Stamford Bridge.
However, Hummels may be a little bit unrealistic for Chelsea given their current league position. There are some more realistic targets though who are capable of filling in the hole left by Terry’s absence. John Stones; who Chelsea failed to sign in the summer, may be tempted second time around. He’s still a young player, but has proven his quality during his time at Everton and with The Blues already making their interest clear, he may well seal a transfer to the Bridge this summer.
Another top young defender who could be making his way to Chelsea as Terry’s replacement is PSG’s Marquinhos. Like Stones, Marquinhos is a player who has been linked with a move to Chelsea in the past and with Terry now confirming his departure, it may pave the way for Marquinhos to move to London. The Brazilian has expressed some displeasure during the 2015/16 campaign at a lack of first-team opportunities, perhaps strengthening Chelsea’s position.
John Terry will be sorely missed by Chelsea both on and off the field then; of that there is no question, but with a number of top young defenders available on the transfer market Chelsea may be able to find their suitable replacement for him sooner than they imagine.
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