EPL 2016/17: 5 centre-backs Chelsea should consider signing this summer
Stefan De Vrij could be Chelsea's centre-back of the future.
After almost two decades, John Terry will call time on his illustrious career with Chelsea when his contract expires this summer. The 36-year-old will depart as the most decorated player in the Blues’ history, and he will leave a void at Stamford Bridge that will linger for aeons. Therefore, it is imperative that the Premier League champions sign a centre-back this summer.
While the West Londoners will never be able to replace their beloved leader’s intangibles, they still need to sign a talented centre-half who can anchor their backline for the next decade.
Before we move on, let’s not forget that this conversation would have been a non-starter if Bayern Munich hadn’t snapped up Niklas Süle. After all, it was Raph Honigstein, one of the commanders-in-chief of the German Football Intelligentsia, who once said that the 21-year-old German International was put on Earth to play for Antonio Conte.
But alas, the Bavarians had their way, as usual, and your humble servant was tasked with crafting this list. C'est la vie, I guess. So, if you haven’t already closed this tab in sheer frustration, here are five defenders who could fill the John Terry shaped hole at Stamford Bridge.
#5 Aymeric Laporte
Some might say that Chelsea’s current back three have done a commendable job, but Gary Cahill and David Luiz are in their thirties, and it’s only a matter of time before the Brazilian reverts to the “Playstation Footballer” that lurks within. Azpilicueta might be the best defender in the league, but for all of his consistency and brilliance in one on one situations, the Spaniard remains an undersized centre-back who can be exploited at the far post.
Also read: Cesar Azpilicueta – Chelsea’s unsung hero
Hence, the Blues could do with someone like Laporte, who has accumulated more than 100 club appearances as a fixture in Bilbao's defensive line. The Frenchman has largely been deployed as a sweeper by Los Leones because he is a proficient reader of the game who can dispossess opponents with precise challenges. There is no question that he is going to be right at home in the 3-4-3 formation.
It must be said that many of Europe’s elite pine for Laporte, but there isn’t a price that the Blues, who are now armed with the Premier League's new TV deal and a bevvy of sponsorships, can’t match.