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Chelsea needs a younger version of Gary Cahill – three viable options

Monday 19th June 2017
The semblance between Gary Cahill and John Terry simply cannot be mistaken. Both are English, play the same position, can score goals and are natural leaders. At a point in time, Chelsea had both, now they're left with one (Gary Cahill), who is rapidly approaching his mid-thirties. It's time to bring in a young defender who can do what Cahill does.

When Gary Cahill joined Chelsea, he came in as a highly sought-after 26-year-old who Arsenal couldn't stop drooling over. Regardless, the Gunners couldn't agree on a fee with Bolton and Chelsea swooped to nab him from their clutches.

On arrival at Chelsea, the similarities between Cahill and Terry became more glaring and soon enough, he became touted as the natural successor of the former England skipper.

Last season, Cahill was pretty impressive for Chelsea. He was the outfield leader of Antonio Conte's title-winning group, also playing the same role for England in the absence of Wayne Rooney.

However, with Cahill now 31, and set to be named the new Chelsea captain, the Premier League Champions must begin the process of easing in his replacement – a young defender who's style of play mirrors that of the former Bolton defender, someone who could one day lead the Blues.

David Luiz is already 30 and out of the question. Kurt Zouma doesn't seem to have that ability to lead (Antonio Conte doesn't rate him anyway). That leaves us with…

Andreas Christensen

He's the cheapest option for Chelsea on this list. The Dane is just twenty-one but already has a truckload of experience under his belt. In 2012, Chelsea had acquired the young defender from Danish side Brøndby on a free transfer.

However, with just three senior games to his name in three years, Chelsea added him to their endless list of loaned out players. Borussia Monchengladbach would be Christensen's home for the next two years.

At Gladbach, Christensen simply blossomed. He won the club's player of the season award in his first year there and gained vital Champions League experience.

Just like Terry and Cahill, Andreas Christensen has shown at such a young age that he can hold his own on the big stage. He's calm on the ball, has great technique can adapt, he's very strong and incredibly gifted. The leadership quality he possesses is there for all to see.

Alessio Romagnoli

If Antonio Conte has plans to remain at Chelsea for the long-term, then sooner rather than later we'll be seeing an Italian defender at SW6.

Should the Blues go for a defender made in Italy then it's best they settle for a young centre-half who could, in the near future, replace Gary Cahill and one day lead Chelsea. Such a defender doesn't come better than AC Milan man, Alessio Romagnoli.

In 2015, AC Milan had priced the 22-year-old from Roma for a fee rising to £21 million; since then, the Milan club can't seem to hold him tight enough to their chest.

Antonio Conte is a big fan of Romagnoli, however, the first time Chelsea tabled a bid for the defender, they met stiff resistance from Milan.

"The player is not for sale, therefore this negotiation will not continue. The club wants to thank Chelsea FC with whom we will continue to have a great working relationship,"AC Milan.

It's not hard to see why Conte is a big admirer of Romagnoli, the Italian is a really efficient defender. Strong, fast, tactically gifted, although a bit aggressive like a Sergio Ramos, he's a young man who can mature into a leader at Chelsea.

Marquinhos



Chelsea might have to battle hard to get his signature and spend a lot of money too. Nonetheless, Antonio Conte is a big admirer of the Brazilian and briefly courted him during his time at Roma.

With contract talks between the 23-year-old and Paris Saint-Germain failing to progress, the window to swoop in and acquire one of best South-American defenders is wide open.

As the English defender begins to wane, Marquinhos would be a perfect fit as a younger replacement for Gary Cahill. The former Corinthians centre-half is fast, full of strength and well equipped to cope with the rigours of the Premier League.
Kingsley Ukpai

Kingsley is a football aficionado who craves to read, watch, play and write about the greatest team sport ever known to man. If you're talking football he'll be keen to listen to what you have to say. Loves to play Fantasy Football too.


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