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Who Can Really Replace Terry Long-Term?

Well as JT plays in his 15th season with the Blues, it seems that the club captain is starting to decline a little. He seems to have lost half a yard of pace and injuries like his currently inflamed knee are increasingly not only costing him games but also the quality of his performances slightly in games. Terry retired from international football to prolong his club career and lets hope this happens as I believe we do still need JT to perform at a high level for at least the next couple of seasons. This will allow him to pass his experience on to the other players and provide Chelsea with the super committed attitude you need in the centre of defense for a while longer.

In Branislav Ivanovic we have the ideal warrior-like defender in the same mold as JT and he really should be a fixture in the heart of the Chelsea defense for many season after JT finishes. It is really a question of who can partner him. David Luiz is a shoe-in as far as being a starter for Chelsea but as he has shown lately, he is such a dynamic player that he really has to play in midfield with his wicked engine and Brazilian attacking flair. So from the current squad, it really comes down to who can fill Terry’s boots in the long term and whether Gary Cahill or at a push Oriel Romeu, who can also play in central defence but prefers to play as a defensive midfielder, can do it.

Cahill has actually been around for a surprising amount of time having spells with Aston Villa where he spent 4 seasons, much of which were spent out on loan and then moving onto Bolton Wanderers where he also spent 4 seasons. He arrived at Stamford Bridge a year ago in an £7 million deal in the winter transfer window with his Bolton contract due to expire at the end of the season. There is no doubt Cahill has quality, having broken into the England team as the first choice centre half and he does have an eye for goal, displaying surprising striker like qualities in the opposing team’s penalty area not only with his head but also with both of his feet. This is evidenced by the goals he has already scored for Chelsea.

The problem with his Cahill is his tendency to commit defensive gaffs, a prime example being his recent defensive blunder against Brazil while playing for England where he kicked the ball too far ahead of himself, got dispossessed which lead to a Brazilian goal as neither he nor any other player could get back to intervene. In his defense, Cahill played the full 120 minutes of the Champions League Final against Bayern Munich last May and was superb making numerous last ditch tackles and interceptions plus he was error free.

I think making defensive blunders is just a passing phase for Cahill and now that he is at a top club like Chelsea, surrounded by high class international players all the time, he will only gain confidence and he will eliminate the mistakes from his game. Therefore I do think that given a bit more time we can rest easy knowing that when the time comes Gary Cahill will be able to take over from John Terry permanently and partner Branislav Ivanovic especially since Romeu is much better used as a holding midfielder.

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