Is this what’s let Chelsea down this season?

It is a little bit harsh to criticise a team that have consistently sat top of the Premier League table and have opened up a six point gap WITH a game in hand but Jose Mourinho’s men are still not as polished as you’d expect them to be.

Defensive lapses coupled with a reduction in goals from their once prolific forwards has seen the Blues draw games they should have won and has also seen them spectacularly knocked out of the Champions League.

Blues manager Jose Mourinho was happy with his team’s defence when he re-joined the club in 2013 but just one season later the ex-Real Madrid man is said to be frustrated with his team’s inability to deal with simple headers and set-pieces. So much so that a clear out of players is expected to take place this summer.

Long standing Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic is said to have caught the eye of several European teams including German champions Bayern Munich. The Serbian would only be worth around £15 million but as he is 31 years old and has a single year left on his contract the Blues would do well to take the offer rather than risk him leaving for free the following summer.

Mourinho has mentioned in the past that he thinks that Kurt Zouma and Raphael Varane are the best young centre backs in the world and so with Zouma already at Stamford Bridge it looks likely that Varane could also be on his way. Mourinho gave 21-year-old Varane his Real Madrid debut back in 2011 so the two already have a working relationship. If Mourinho can convince the young player to leave the Bernabeu then Chelsea would be expected to pay around £30 million.

The acquisition of Varane would not look too good for Gary Cahill who currently occupies that position but at 29 and with his place in the Chelsea team up for scrutiny recently, perhaps the time has come to move him on.

Despite scoring Chelsea’s opener, Cahill was highly criticised for allowing Paris Saint-Germain’s Thiago Silva to score from a set-piece which ultimately knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League. This coupled with a season of shaky performances has turned some supporters against him. Captain John Terry, who has been at the club since 1998, has performed well and is expected to be offered a one-year contract extension though it seems likely that he’ll be working with a very different back four come August.

Jose Mourinho tends to have a very clear vision for how he wants his teams to play and emphasis is always on tracking back and ensuring the back line is solid. With the 52-year-old admitting that he wants to stay at the club for quite some time it is understandable that he wants to create a younger, fresher team.

He already has youth upfront with Eden Hazard and Oscar so rejuvenating an ageing defence should build him a team that can compete for both the domestic and European titles for many years to come.

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