We've been hearing pretty much since we last won the title that this Chelsea team needs to change and evolve. 'Transition' has been thrown around too much, as has 'project', but despite the annoying terminology the idea that we're switching from one core to another does have a certain amount of merit. The 'old guard' are slowly fading away -- nobody typifies this better than Michael Essien -- and a new Chelsea core is rising.
The belief that Jose Mourinho is here to build a dynasty rather has been rubbished all year by the media and many fans, who mostly see the manager as a quick-fix mercenary. But, in truth, Mourinho's been acting as though he's constructing a new team rather than desperate to patch up an old one, and if you ignore his previous work* you'd see a manager phasing in the new without compromising too much on the points front.
*Obviously ignoring evidence isn't wise, but there's a line at which your priors turn into prejudices.
So who are the players Chelsea are planning on building their new side around? Well, it should be pretty obvious, but I'll let the manager say it:
Clearly, Chelsea had a fantastic team that lasted for 10 years, but he that team is over, it doesn't exist any more. Chelsea needs to build another team with some similarities to that one. Some of these boys are still here, but not many of them. And Chelsea is building its future.
You could see this season that these people were important to give some stability, to give some experience to the team, but obviously they're not the players for the next 10 years. The players for the next 10 years have to be the Hazards, Oscars, Matic... these young guys are the guys for the next 10 years.
Hazard? Here for ten years? And here I thought that he and Jose Mourinho had a big falling out and we were going to sell him to Paris Saint-Germain. Fess up, Jose: you hate Eden's guts. Right? RIGHT?!
Eden has had a big evolution in his game and a big evolution in his personality. He had a high that lasted for a long time - many, many months. He couldn't finish on a high because he was injured and in the most important moment of the season - for the second leg against Paris, for the first leg against Atletico - he was not there.
Against Atletico in the second leg he was there but not in top condition. He wasn't there for the last few matches of the Premier League because of his injury, but he was clearly a player with a big evolution and hopefully he will be even better next season.