John Terry was in defiant mood after his team’s 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United. He made it perfectly clear that there had been no discussions between himself and the club and that, at present, he was on his way out of Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.
A Chelsea team without JT is hard to comprehend. Thierry Henry and Graeme Souness were adamant that he should not be allowed to leave, a view shared by 99 per cent of people associated with the Football Club.
However, a jaunt to America, China or Australia appears on the cards for the former England skipper. Attention then, must turn to who they bring in to replace the Blues legend.
Simply put, they can’t. Terry’s influence over the club has been huge and he is the player that binds the multi million pound footballers to the supporters who turn up every week. No matter what you think about Terry, he is a vital cog in the Pensioners’ machine and his presence will never truly be replaced.
On the pitch it may be a little different. They should be able to fill the hole he leaves as a player, after all they have all the cash they could dream of to go out and cherry pick the best players in the world. A lack of Champions League football could prove an issue but Roman’s millions should still be able to tempt some of the best.
Terry’s replacement needs to be able to lead. He more or less has to be an instant candidate for club captain as soon as he steps into the setup. He also needs to be able to continue the good work that the current skipper has done in nurturing the ever-improving, but now injured, Kurt Zouma. Letting Terry depart leaves Gary Cahill as the most experienced and senior centre-half in the Chelsea squad; that is simply not good enough.
Letting Terry go seems like a peculiar decision but it would be stranger still if Chelsea were to gamble on the youth of a John Stones or Raphael Varane alone.
So, the Blues need and experienced, top class defender who is prepared to step into the boots of their greatest ever captain and arguably the Premier League’s best ever centre-half. Not exactly easy to find. Nevertheless, there is one man that may be attainable for Abramovich this summer.
To put it frankly Chelsea should break the bank for Thiago Silva. Yes, he’s 31 and would cost a serious amount of money but he has everything that they require in the absence of their talismanic leader.
It is a signing that would go totally against their ethos of only signing younger players and reducing deals to just 12 months after they turn 30, but these are desperate times at Stamford Bridge and they must add a big personality with the strength and mind-set to cope with filling the black hole left behind by their famous number 26.
Silva is a player whose talents on the pitch have seen him captain Brazil and lead the money-driven revolution at PSG in recent years. He has become a symbol of the Parisian side and while they would be loathed to let him go, could he really turn down the chance of a crack at the Premier League at his age?
At Milan he learnt from one of the best in Alessandro Nesta, developing the defensive side of his game immensely, while his natural flair and ability on the ball makes him an ideal replacement for Terry, whose eye for a pass and quality of delivery is so often dismissed despite being one of his finest qualities.
In France he has developed the winning mentality and his showings on the field have earned a spot in the FIFA Pro XI for the previous three years.
PSG are currently 24 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 and while they have a dream of winning the Champions League, a player of the stature and ability of Silva would be hugely tempted by the lure of Chelsea.
Another man who has the knowhow and presence to lead the west Londoner’s is Diego Godin.
A move to Chelsea would be something of a sideways or maybe even a downward move for Godin. Unlike Silva, he is embroiled in a battle for trophies with both Barcelona and Real Madrid on a regular basis. He does not need to go looking for a challenge.
The Uruguayan has been one of the best defenders in Europe for the last three years and surprisingly is still yet to turn 30. He has massive experience of leading a backline and is a part of what is probably the best defence in La Liga.
His rise to one of the world’s best has coincided with the presence of Diego Simeone as his boss at Atleti. The Argentinian manager broke the duopoly in 2014 as the capital club lifted the title, a remarkable achievement. Godin is arguably his most loyal lieutenant, which is what makes this move a possibility.
If Simeone is Chelsea’s main target, which many believe he is, then could Godin remain loyal to his current boss and make the switch to London? If indeed David Beckham’s old friend is handed the big job then convincing Godin to come with him should be his first task.