Having turned in a phenomenal season anchoring yet another title-winning Chelsea side, John Terry has belied his 34 years.
However, JT cannot go on forever and the double-winning Blues must look to the future and life beyond their great leader sooner rather than later.
It does seem increasingly likely that Jose Mourinho will keep the door open for another year as reward for Terry’s heroics in 2014/15, but these three men could potentially replace him longer term.
Kurt Zouma – Chelsea
The 20-year-old Frenchman is the ideal replacement in so many ways, but chiefly because he is already ingratiated into the Stamford Bridge fold.
Chelsea beat off stiff competition to sign the much-coveted Saint Etienne teenager in January 2014 and their £12m outlay looks like money very wisely spent.
At 6ft 3” Zouma has the power and aerial prowess to follow in JT’s footsteps and having been deployed in defensive midfield on occasion this season, his technical ability and composure on the ball speak for themselves.
He has represented France’s national team at every youth level, including the senior side once, and comparisons to former Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly resonate for this reason.
Rafael Varane – Real Madrid
Another Frenchman and another huge talent, Real Madrid’s 22-year-old centre-half is already the veteran of a World Cup in the heart of Les Blues’ defence.
Mourinho is clearly a huge admirer having taken him to the Bernabeu in the first place as a teenager, but the fee he would command might be a deterrent, especially in light of Financial Fair Play.
John Stones – Everton
Among the biggest attractions about Stones is a continuation of the English legacy at the heart of Chelsea’s success.
The Special One recognises the need for a nucleus of home-grown players in the dressing room and early in his career Stones has shown great promise.
The England intentional is big and strong and also very graceful on the ball. However, his youthful exuberance can see him caught in possession and the 20-year-old would certainly be the largest gamble.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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