John Terry is one of the best defenders in the English Premier League right now. The Chelsea skipper marshals the back four, keeping things tight and preventing opposition players from slipping in through gaps. Defence isn’t his only forte though, he also chips in with valuable goals from time to time-most notably the glancing headers he manages to pop in from set-pieces. Indeed, Terry is one of the highest scoring defenders in the Premier League.
But let’s face it, at 34, he isn’t getting any younger. He may have managed to pull through an entire season without an injury, but that’s unlikely to happen again. He needs cover.
Not just Terry, the entire Chelsea back four has been excellent this season, particularly after the New Year’s Day debacle at White Hart Lane. Terry and Gary Cahill have an excellent understanding, and Ivanovic’s piercing runs down the right have no match. Cesar Azpilicueta, despite playing at the left out of his preferred position at the right, has been so good that even a natural left back like Felipe Luis has been unable to dislodge him.
But problems remain. Again, if someone goes out, there is little in reserve. Felipe Luis is clearly unsatisfied with the bits and pieces role he’s had this season and looks to be on his way out, back to Atletico Madrid possibly. Young Kurt Zouma put in some fine performances, especially in the Capital One Cup final, but he’s too inexperienced to consistently start and not make mistakes.
Who then, should the Blues buy this summer?
The most obvious, and expensive, name on the list is Raphael Varane. The young Frenchman was blooded by Jose Mourinho during his time at Real Madrid and the two have been close ever since. The 22 year old has all the attributes to be a fantastic player, and under the tutelage of Terry he can only get better. But there are many issues that need to be resolved before Varane dons the Blue of Chelsea-he’s likely to want assurances about his starting place in the team, which cant be guaranteed. Also, Real will not let one of their most promising youth prospects go without a steep transfer fee.
Diego Godin is another possibility. Atletico Madrid and Chelsea have done a lot of business in the past, and perhaps the understanding between the clubs could make this an easy deal. With Chelsea also interested in Antoinne Greizmann, is another twin offer in the making?
Godin, however, is well settled in Spain and is unlikely to leave Atletico without a strong replacement making his way in return.
Yet another option is Augsburg’s 20 year old Ghanaian, Abdul Baba Rahman. If Felipe Luis decides to leave, he could fit in well with Mourinho’s plans to have good cover at every position. He’s quick, but far from a finished product, and Jose Mourinho is unlikely to provide him with the regular football he needs to develop.
21 year old Everton defender John Stones has long been heralded as the next John Terry. With the Blues captain himself praising the youngster recently, could the time be ripe for him to move south to London?
Clearly, Chelsea need to strengthen their squad in a few key areas if they are to keep the winning run going, and defence is one of the places which needs the attention of the Blues if they are to maintain the solidity they became famous for.