Last season, John Terry was widely expected to leave Chelsea after a new contact failed to be trashed out. However, the Stamford Bridge legend decided to play on for another season, only for his game time to be gradually restricted due to poor form.
Although it has been reported that Terry will not leave Chelsea in January, Antonio Conte will surely be looking at his long-term plans to fill the void left by such an inspirational figure at the club.
With Conte’s 3-4-3 formation a roaring success, the Italian will want to strike the balance between finding a leader for the side who can also fit into the attractive style the Blues have displayed this term.
Stefan de Vrij
Dutchman De Vrij was one of the bright sparks for Holland as they claimed third place in the 2014 World Cup. Since joining Lazio in 2014, he has become one of Serie A’s highest rated players. A physical but composed and ball-playing defender, De Vrij is comfortable playing in a back three, as he has demonstrated for his country.
De Vrij has been linked with Chelsea during this transfer window and could be lined up as a successor to Terry, especially considering that he would fit into Conte’s system.
Middlesbrough defender Gibson has been one of his sides bright sparks in a difficult return to the top flight. Having started his career as a tough-tackling left-back after graduating from Boro’s academy, the 24-year-old has become a commanding centre-half.
A former England under-21 international, Gibson will be hoping to emulate Terry as a key man for the national team, and having given some strong performances might not be too far off an England call-up or a transfer to a bigger club.
29-year-old defender Bonucci is one of world football’s most consistent centre-halves. Having racked up over 200 appearances for Juventus since joining in 2010, the Italian international may want to test the waters in England.
A leader for both club and country, Bonucci could be the ideal replacement for Terry given his respect in the dressing room. Having played for Conte at both Juve and with Italy, the defender will be familiar with the manager’s system having been one of the success stories of the tactician’s style.
Ball-playing centre-back Marquinhos has quickly grown a strong reputation for himself since arriving in Europe from Corinthians. Another defender capable of playing at full-back, the PSG man will be familiar with playing alongside David Luiz for both club and country.
Although he is very different style-wise to Terry, the 22-year-old could certainly serve as a long-term replacement that could fit into Conte’s back three formation. A coveted player, Marquinhos would certainly be a major coup for the Blues.
The Stamford Bridge faithful may not have to look any further than one of their own academy graduates. Dutchman Ake is a rarity in so far that he has consistently been loaned out by Chelsea only to be recalled to join up with the first team.
The 21-year-old most recently enjoyed a successful spell with Bournemouth, replicating the goalscoring abilities from the back that Chelsea will miss from Terry. Having captained Dutch underage sides and Chelsea’s reserves, Ake could follow a similar path to Terry by becoming club captain in years to come.
Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena
Read More About: antonio conte, ben gibson, brazil international football, Brazilian football, Chelsea, chelsea news, English Football, john terry, leonardo bonucci, marquinhos, Nathan Ake, premier league football, premier league news, stefan de vrij