Despite Chelsea going great guns in the Premier League, all has not been so rosy in the Gary Cahill garden this season. The seemingly irreplaceable England international has had to frustratingly watch on from the sidelines, more often than he would have liked of late, as young Kurt Zouma has burst his way into Jose Mourinho’s first team plans.
Cahill has pretty much been a guaranteed starter since joining from Bolton Wanderers in a £7m deal in January 2012. But for the first time in his Chelsea career, his position at centre-back is under serious pressure. Even though Cahill has still featured regularly in the Blues side this season, he has also spent quite a chunk of time on the bench, watching Zouma flourish next to John Terry.
The 20-year-old Zouma, who arrived from Saint-Etienne a year ago as ‘one for the future’, has really come of age at Stamford Bridge this term. The Frenchman has impressed Mourinho with his dominant displays, and as a consequence, the centre-back has played 16 league and cup games for the west London club thus far. The Chelsea boss seems to prefer Zouma for home games, as his last seven Blues appearances have all come at Stamford Bridge.
So in the wake of Zouma’s outstanding emergence this year, are Gary Cahill’s days numbered in a Chelsea shirt?
Well, you never know with Mourinho. He has had the tendency in recent years to let his more popular players leave. But I think it’s a different case with Cahill – despite finding himself on the bench at times this season, he is still one of the Premier League’s best defenders, and the Chelsea manager has always been a great admirer of having strength in depth.
The question is, though, will Gary Cahill want to stay at Stamford Bridge to undoubtedly spend spells on the bench? Zouma looks as though he’s going to be around in the Chelsea defence for many years to come, although Chelsea’s other defensive stalwart, John Terry, probably won’t be.
Terry, who’s now 34, won’t have too many years playing at the top level left in him. Which makes you wonder whether Cahill will stick around and fight for a cemented place back in Jose Mourinho’s first team. Either way, the Chelsea supporters should feel extremely grateful that their team have three world class centre-backs all vying for two positions in defence.
Whether it’s Cahill or Zouma, the Blues are as equally dominant in that area. It seems as though it doesn’t matter who partners the Chelsea skipper in defence. Despite disappointingly dropping points at home to lowly Burnley on Saturday, Chelsea still sit pretty at the top of the Premier League table, with only Southampton conceding fewer goals than the league leaders.
Gary Cahill would probably walk into any Premier League team, and arguably most of the world’s elite clubs. But maybe the 29-year-old, should stick around a little while longer, for what could be another very exciting chapter in the club’s history.