In this post I wanted to create a post that looks into the possible future of Chelsea FC.
Just to clarify some of the terms I use in this paragraph:
Fringe Player: On the first team roster but most appearances will be comprised of (Capitol One Cup, F.A. cup, listed on the bench, and some sub appearances in the league.)
Important First Team Player: Won't be a regular starter, but will start some matches and see meaningful minutes in most competitions.
Starter: Week in week out, will usually be starting most matches.
Firstly I think it is safe to say that certain players probably won't be around next year, and this is the first thing I want to address before getting into who WILL be at Chelsea next season.
Daniel Sturridge: I think it's safe to say that Sturridge will be sold or out on loan next season as he clearly doesn't fit into Di Matteo's plans. He is too selfish of a player to fit into the creative revolution that is taking place at Chelsea, and frankly I feel that he isn't enough of a true number 9 to fit into the 4-2-3-1 system.
Frank Lampard: I'm not so sure about Super Frank's future at CFC but I think it is entirely possible that he is gone by the end of the season. With rumors constantly swirling about small league teams eager to bring in the aging superstar and the emphasis being placed on younger players, Frank doesn't seem to have that much of a future with the club.
Prediction: Sold or given a one year contract extension.
Destinations: China? LA Galaxy. Russia?
Ashley Cole: As much as I hope that arguably the best left back isn't going to leave CFC, it's becoming more evident every day that he is going to ship out at the end of the season on a free transfer. Now his mum is coming out and saying he will be going to PSG next season, which to me, spells the end of A Cole at CFC. Despite his age I think he is going to still play at a top level for 2-3 more years and I think it would be a huge blow to lose him. I think we owe Ashley more than a one year contract extension, however I don't see Roman breaking his rule about 30 year old + players.
Prediction: Free Transfer. Or maybe Roman gives him that 2 year extension that Cole wants (fairly unlikely).
Destinations: Most likely PSG or maybe Man U. Unlikely but possibly Man City.
Florent Malouda: It's clear at this point that he Malouda is done at CFC and I don't see him staying past this summer.
Destinations: Brazil. Santos? It's entirely possibly that Malouda finishes his career in some smaller league in Europe, but Brazil seems like the likely destination.
Paulo Ferreira: Like Malouda, Ferreira is done at CFC. While it is more likely that Ferreira could still have a few appearances, I still wouldn't bank on it. He could be called on in absolutely desperate times as he was last season but realistically the former record signing is on his way out.
Next I'm going to look at players currently in our Youth System who could possibly be impacting the first team or on the fringes of the first team.
There aren't many players in our u21s that really have much chance at playing or seeing time with the first team next year but here is my estimate.
Lucas Piazon: While technically already in the first team picture, he really hasn't had many significant appearances, however I think with one more year I think he'll start to see more time.
Prediction: Mostly a bench player with some substitute appearances in the league. Possibly loaned out to a club in a top league.
George Saville: I don't see him really breaking into the first team picture but he has been put on the bench for a few of Chelsea's matches this season and I think he will see time similar to Piazon this season.
Prediction: Fringe player or loaned out.
Long Shots: Patrick Bamford, Todd Kane, Nathan Ake.
Loaned Out Players
Now for players currently on loan who could be looking at a recall next season.
Michael Essien: While unfortunately I think Essien's best days are behind him, maybe Mourinho can get Essien back to a shadow of him former self. This would provide depth at arguably CFC's most vulnerable position. However I cannot see Essien being one of the first names on the team sheet going forward. I really hope that I have to eat my words but I just don't see it happening.
Prediction: Important first team role player, mainly subs and the occasional start. Possibly sold or loaned out again.
Kevin De Bruyne: Just watching Kevin's belgium highlights and some of his highlights from his season so far at Werder Bremen have gotten me excited at this kids potential. Initially bought as a winger, I think he has great potential as a central attacking mid or center mid. Occasionally being used as a more holding Mid, De Bruyne has shown flexibility and a lot of play making promise. I really think this kid could be a big part of the first team picture next season as a replacement for Frank Lampard. He may not be ready to be a starter every game, but I think he is ready for the first team. If you haven't seen what this kid is doing, go check out his highlight reel.
Prediction: Occasional starter, and impact sub.
Romelu Lukaku: Seeing how short we are on strikers at the moment, I think Lukaku will play a big role next year for Chelsea. While getting limited time at WBA this season, Lukaku has still managed to impress and I even think he could and maybe should get a recall this season. Depending on what Chelsea do this January and Summer, (Purchase of a new striker (Falcao, Remy, etc) and the sale of (Sturridge)), Lukaku could see a lot of involvement next season. Torres really doesn't look like he's ever going to get back to his best and Lukaku has a huge amount of potential. I don't see Lukaku wanting another loan next season and I don't think it is in CFC best interest to loan him out again.
Prediction: Possibly starter, will see plenty of playing time.
Josh McEachran: Hasn't really lived up to the early promise seen in him in Chelsea's youth system, however I am still an advocate for this kid. After seeing his dribbling highlight from this weekend, I think the kid should have a shout at one of Chelsea's pivot roles next season. He won't be a starter every game but I think he should stay with the first team next season and get some chances and get more familiar with the first team picture for the years to come.
Prediction: Will see some playing time, possibly loaned out again.
Sam Hutchinson: Heart warming story, but I can't see this guy breaking through to the first team. However I still believe he will be in the Chelsea system for a few more years.
Prediction: Loaned or sold.
Thibaut Courtois: Brilliant future, but still has Petr Cech ahead of him. Won't be the number one next year but give him another year on loan and he will have a serious shout at Cech's job. Word is Chelsea want to see him directly in the EPL next season so I don't expect to see him with atletico next season.
Prediction: Loaned out to an EPL team. West Ham, Fulham.
Yossi Benayoun: No future will Chelsea. Not even sure of his contract situation, not that I really care.
Prediction: Sold or loaned out.
Gael Kakuta: While starting to live up to some of the promise that made him such a hot prospect a few years ago, Kakuta is still a few years off. If he continues improving I think he could break into the first team in a few years but however I don't see it coming soon.
Prediction: Loaned out, possibly sold.
Patrick Van Aanholt: Chelsea are not as high on this kid as they were a few years ago. I don't really see him ever breaking into the first team, maybe at best being a back up to the back up outside backs.
Prediction: Loaned out.
Jeffrey Bruma: I don't see Bruma really getting into the first team picture next year but it is still not certain whether this kid has a future at Chelsea. Content to play elsewhere, Bruma himself isn't certain of his own Chelsea Future.
Prediction: Loaned out. Possibly recalled to the first team for depth at the cb position but I don't see him getting meaningful minutes.
Tomas Kalas: With his recent call up to the Czech first team, Kalas is one for the future. Chelsea see him as a long term player and will be a first team player going forward. That being said, it is unclear whether or not he will be recalled next season. He has been getting rave reviews for his performances for Vitesse and I can see him being in the first team picture next season. Possibly playing minutes similar to those of Ryan Bertrand next season (He will not be seeing any UCL minutes), Kalas is a serious candidate for the first team in two years time. I believe he will be a staple in Chelsea's defense for years to come.
Prediction: I'm 70/30 on this one. I think it is more likely that he is out on loan next season but it is entirely possible for him to be a fringe player next season.
Nathaniel Chalobah: Seen as a long term Chelsea player, Chalobah should be recalled to the first team next year. With his loan up in January it is possible that he could be in the first team picture very soon. I don't see him getting meaningful minutes this season, but I do see him being in the plans for next season.
Prediction: Fringe First Team player, will see minutes next season.
Thorgan Hazard: Thorgan has been impressing and making his own name in belgium this season. I think he is definitely in the plans of Chelsea going forward but not next season.
Prediction: Loaned out, possibly first team fringe player but unlikely.
Now for the players already involved in the first team.
First Team Players
Petr Cech: Position is fairly safe for the next year possibly two years. Depends on the progress of Courtois, the evident successor to Cech.
Branislav Ivanovich: Arguably Chelsea's most consistent player, Ivanovich's versatility as a rb or cb makes him indispensable for Chelsea the next few years. However his position is going to be challenged by Azpilicueta going forward.
Prediction: Starter or very important first team player.
John Terry: I think Terry is coming to the end of the road at Chelsea. With rumors going around that Chelsea is fed up with his antics, it seems like Terry will be allowed to run out his contract. However for the next season I feel he will still be fairly irreplaceable in the heart of Chelsea's defense. There is only one JT26.
Prediction: Starter, maybe important first team player.
David Luiz: Luiz is such an enigma it is hard to see what his future hold. While he has so much potential, I've yet to see if he can be a reliable Cb. I don't expect Chelsea to give up on him in the near future. I think his future depends on how Chelsea go about their transfer business. However with Terry seemingly on the decline, Luiz should be a starter for the next few years.
Prediction: Starter. Maybe 3 choice CB if Chelsea start shopping around for a new CB.
Gary Cahill: I don't think Cahill is good enough to be a number 1 CB but I do think he has had some remarkable performances for Chelsea. I think regardless of what happens to Terry, Cahill will remain the third choice center back and a very important player for Chelsea going forward.
Prediction: Possible Starter.
Oriol Romeu: I think this kid has tons of potential but has not seen near enough time under RDM. There has been talk of him going elsewhere but I think his future at Chelsea is only looking up. Possible loanee next season to a top club in Spain or even a possible starter next season.
Prediction: Will see significant minutes if not loaned out.
Ramirez: Ramirez's versatility makes him a lock for Chelsea's first team going forward. While he may not start as many matches going forward, I think he will still be a very important first team player. His future really depends on the development of Chelsea's current talent and what Chelsea decides to do in the transfer market.
Prediction: Very important First team player, Off and On Starter.
Fernando Torres: Despite having a better year, Torres is not doing enough for a top club like Chelsea. I expect Chelsea to go out and find another striker in the transfer periods to come. That being said, I don't think that spells the end for Torres. Unless he is offered in a package bid for someone like Falcao, Torres has one or two more years of solid involvement in Chelsea's first team. I don't expect him to be an automatic pick going forward however.
Prediction: Important first team player, possible starter.
Juan Mata: This lad is going nowhere. He has been brilliant this season and arguably the EPL's best player. Will be one of the first names on the team sheet for years to come. He has shown a love for the club and I believe is a great person to have in the dressing room.
Prediction: Starter, maybe even a future Chelsea legend.
Oscar: Like Mata, I don't see Oscar going anywhere. He's been brilliant this season and will only get better. Don't see him losing his starting position.
John Obi Mikel: Obi Mikel has had his fair of share of criticism as a Chelsea player. I think he doesn't get as much credit as he deserves for all the thankless tasks he performs as a deep lying midfielder. However, I think he is pretty close to his ceiling and I can see him being replaced in the future. However, by next season I think it is safe to say he will still be a starter. I do think Chelsea will look to strengthen the CDM position in the next two transfer periods but I don't think that should effect Mikel's position too much.
Victor Moses: I was fairly skeptical of Moses when Chelsea first purchased him, however he has grown on me significantly. Especially after his Champions League heroics, Moses has shown that he deserves to be at CFC. I think he gives Chelsea a great wide option, and will only see his first team involvement increase in the coming years.
Prediction: Possible Starter, very important First Team Player.
Eden Hazard: Hazard is potentially the future of Chelsea Football Club. He has the most potential out of any member of Chelsea's current squad and I see him leading CFC to silverware in years to come. It is hard to believe that this kid is only 21 and already lighting the EPL on fire. I think he can disappear from time to time and I also think his finishing isn't as sharp as it was last season but both of these things will improve with time. I can't see him not being an automatic lock going forward unless he moves to a Barcelona or Real Madrid. But Chelsea haven't had much trouble holding onto their prized assets in the last few years and don't think he will move on.
Prediction: Future of CFC, definite starter.
Marko Marin: I feel bad for Marin as I think he is an extremely talented player. He is a victim of Chelsea's UCL triumph last season, and I hope that he won't be leaving CFC after just a year. Because Chelsea won the UCL they were able to buy top talent that wouldn't have come had Chelsea not been qualified for CL action. Now behind Mata, Hazard, and Oscar, it is almost impossible to see a way that Marin can become a regular starter at Stamford Bridge. There are rumors that he is on his way back to Germany, and I think it could be fairly likely that he leaves soon.
Prediction: Impact sub or sold/loaned.
Cesar Azpilicueta: Cesar is looking like a promising player but it could be hard for him to be a starter by next season. As mentioned previously, Ivanovich has got the right back position locked down. I do think Cesar will eventually become the Chelsea's main right back in the future (Depending on the progression of Kalas), but I don't think it will happen next season. However I could be wrong as Cesar has been impressive so far.
Prediction: Important First Team player, maybe a starter.
Ryan Bertrand: With the highly likely departure of Cole at the end of the season, Chelsea's LB position will be up for grabs. Bertrand would be the automatic pick for this position IF Chelsea don't go out and buy someone in the next two transfer periods. Regardless of what Chelsea does, I think Bertrand will be an important first team player for years to come. However I can't see him being Chelsea's long term LB solution.
Prediction: Important First Team player, possible starter.
Now for the fun part.... Potential Transfers
This next section is comprised of potential transfer targets that WILL impact Chelsea's first team. I will not be speculating on potential prospects that Chelsea are linked with.
Falcao: While rumors have cooled off, I think Falcao would elevate Chelsea to the "best team in the world" discussion. Imagine if Chelsea had a player like Falcao receiving the balls created by Chelsea's creative nucleus of Oscar, Mata, and Hazard. I think he could absolutely terrorize the premier league and replicate his Europa league heroics in the Champions league. However his price tag may be an obstacle. If Falcao does move in the next year, I think Chelsea makes the most sense for him. He would be the undoubted number 1, (unlike at Man City, Man U, Real Madrid, or PSG) and Chelsea have a great group of young creative players to play balls into him. Torres could be offered as a replacement which would likely leave Chelsea with Falcao and Lukaku as the go to strikers.
Likelihood of purchase: 7/10
Cavani: I absolutely love Cavani. With all the interest being directed towards Falcao, Cavani could be a more realistic option. While he has a similar price tag, I think Cavani could come cheaper than Falcao. Cavani has been lighting up Serie A, and had had 4 goals in Napoli's Europa League win last week. While I think Falcao is more certain to leave his club in the next year, I think Cavani is more likely to move to Chelsea. I do think Falcao is just a bit better than Cavani, but Cavani is still an excellent conciliation prize. Proven in the Champions League, and carrying Napoli on his back, Cavani would be excellent at Chelsea.
Likelihood of purchase: 7.5/10
Loic Remy: While Remy is not in the same conversation as Cavani or Falcao, it would be a solid addition to this Chelsea squad. I don't think he would be the clear number 1 and would have to fight with Torres for minutes. I think this would be good for Torres, and competition may elevate his play. Price wise, this may be Chelsea's best option but I don't think this purchase would take Chelsea to the next level. There have been several rumors about RDM pushing for a January move, and this seems like it could be a very likely purchase.
Likelihood of purchase: 8/10
David Villa: I think Villa's best days are behind him but I think it would be a solid move for Chelsea if it came at the right price. After his latest bust up with Messi, Villa is seems to be on the way out. I think this move could also benefit Torres but I also don't think this move is a slam dunk. I don't think Villa would be the automatic number 1 if he came to Chelsea but who knows. I wouldn't be that excited if Chelsea made this move, and frankly hope that they go with any of the other three choices above.
Likelihood of purchase: 6/10
Lewandowski: Robert Lewandowski would be a great pick up for Chelsea. He would come at a reasonable price and I think would almost be the clear number 1 at Chelsea. Previously linked with Manchester United, I don't see United adding another striker considering the abundance they already have. I think it would be a smart move for Chelsea, and rumor has it contract talks have stalled at Borussia Dortmund.
Likelihood of Purchase 7/10
Center Defensive Midfield:
Felliani: With rumors that Chelsea are preparing a 30m bid for the Everton star, it seems like Felliani could well be on his way to London in January. Even though he has played a more attacking role this year, Felliani would be a masterful CDM alongside Obi Mikel. Playing in the more attacking pivot role of Frank Lampard, Felliani would be given room to roam forward. I think this would be a great pick up for Chelsea and would add to the Belgian contingent at Chelsea.
Likelihood of Purchase: 8.5/10
Danielle Di Rossi: If I had to make two purchases for Chelsea this January, they would undoubtably be Di Rossi and Falcao. I think these two players would make Chelsea favorites to win the EPL title and would give them a serious shot at the UCL. After watching Di Rossi in the Euro Cup this summer, he instantly became one of my favorite players in the world. A sublime tackler, he would be a huge defensive force that would bolster a Chelsea defense that has seemed weak in recent weeks. Rumors say that he is on his way out of AS Roma after bust ups with his manager and recent comments made by people close to him. I would have to say Man City are the favorites if he does move, but I'm not entirely sure he will move. He has been a one club man his whole life and I don't know if that will ever change. However, he may be realizing that he is coming to the end of his career and his only serious shot at European glory is with a bigger club. He will certainly have a big price tag, but with that price tag comes an absolutely superb player. If he were to come to Chelsea, I think he would usurp Obi Mikel's role as the primary deep lying midfielder which may lead to Obi Mikel being relegated to the bench. I think they would need a more attacking option for the second pivot role that Obi Mikel could not provide.
Likelihood of Purchase: 6/10
Yann M'Vila: Quality player, and could come at the most affordable price out of any of the CDM's mentioned above. Great defensively, Yann, like Di Rossi, would almost certainly usurp Obi Mikel's role as primary CDM. However, this does not necesarily mean that Obi Mikel will lose his starting spot. I do think the pairing of Obi Mikel and M'Vila would be too defensive and would require Obi Mikel giving way for a more attacking player. M'Vila is probably the most practical purchase here but not necessarily the most likely. While he has been linked to Chelsea in the past, I think M'Vila is a longshot for a January purchase but still could be bought in the summer.
Likelihood of purchase: 6/10
Lucas Digne: Has all the top clubs in Europe Chasing after him. Chelsea seem to be in the lead on this one but it is unseen whether or not he will be leaving Lille anytime soon.
Likelihood of Purchase 5/10
Lukasz Piszczek: The Dortmund man has been heavily linked with Chelsea in the past and a deal could come through this summer if Ashley Cole does leave. I think this would be a very good replacement at a reasonable price, but I'm not sure how ready Dortmund are to sell.
Likelihood of Purchase: 6.5/10
All in all, Chelsea have a lot of options going forward. I think that there will be a purchase(s) in January and in the Summer to solidify the squad to be significantly better next year.
Hazard Oscar Mata
Feliaini/De Bruyne Obi Mikel
Bertrand/New Purchase Terry Luiz Ivanovich