With a season to forget seven games from being over, Chelsea fans will be looking forward to this summer and an improved showing next term.
There will be a host of changes at Stamford Bridge facilitated by this season’s poor showings, which will begin with a new manager in charge of the club.
Guus Hiddink has done an admirable job in providing a band-aid solution, but getting a charismatic, tactically adventurous and inspiring new manager in on a permanent basis is surely the West London club’s priority number one currently.
With lots of talk that Antonio Conte is set to be that man, an eye turns to a playing squad that has underwhelmed given the incredible amount of talent contained within it this season.
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Not many players are assured to be at Stamford Bridge next season, for one reason or another.
Thibaut Courtois has rocked the boat by stating that he does not know if he will be a Chelsea player come next season, with the absence of Champions League football surely creeping into the top players’ minds as a reason to potentially look to move elsewhere.
Eden Hazard’s long-term future continues to be a case in question, while a whole host of deadwood will surely be chopped before the Blues step out for the first game of next season to make way for new signings.
Arguably the most important Chelsea figure that will not be there come next season is John Terry, who looks set to end a career representing his boyhood club.
At 35 the ageing centre-half is certainly coming to the end of his playing days and Roman Abramovich’s policy of trusting in youth and not offering long contracts to players over 30 is clearly in play.
However, with so much change set to occur at Stamford Bridge over the next couple of months, continuity in some degree will surely be needed to prevent the club from starting from scratch. Bringing in a new manager, likely to be from overseas, and a host of players from abroad also, there is a risk that the club could lose its identity to some degree.
From a playing perspective it will also take new players time to adjust to their new surrounds and having someone there that can act as a leader, like Terry, would be a valuable asset.
Looking at players that can potentially replace the former England captain in the Chelsea team in the long term, Kurt Zouma looks like a possible candidate. The young Frenchman has had the opportunity to play alongside the current captain but would learn further from having Terry at the club again next season.
A rumour in the British press this weekend suggests that Conte could look to make a u-turn of the club’s decision and persuade Terry to stay at the club for another season.
Looking at it objectively, even if the veteran is not as essential a member of the team has he has been over the years, his presence alone would be a key reason to keep him at a club in transition.