Defender and deposed club captain Gary Cahill is not happy with the direction his career has taken since Maurizio Sarri took over from Antonio Conte at Chelsea.
Having yet to take the pitch for a single official minute in seven games in all competitions since the start of the season, Cahill is set to leave in January.
“I don’t want to jump the gun, but as things stand at this time, probably, yes. I’m not a guy who is willing to accept not playing. It’s all about playing. Your career’s short enough as it is.
“I’ve got maximum respect for everybody here at the football club, for the fans and all the players. But sometimes you have to make tough decisions to keep your career going forward.
“As it is now, I’m not really enjoying things. Having been a big part of things for seven years and played a huge part, not just a squad player, I’m definitely finding it difficult this year to deal with that situation.
“The most important thing here is the team, but I’ve got to look at my situation and my future as well. Everything gradually comes to an end or there’s a new challenge around the corner.”
Cahill finds himself in a similar predicament to former teammate Petr Cech, who spent eleven season with Chelsea but found himself surplus to requirements back in 2015, after the arrival of Thibaut Courtois. As reward for his loyalty, Cech was allowed to join rivals Arsenal.
Cahill is expecting similar treatment and allowances from the club. He feels that he can still play at the top level, and would likely push for a move in January, six months before his contract actually expires.
“I think with Petr they saw he wasn’t getting the game time he would have liked and they rewarded his professionalism and his attitude by letting him go and get first-team football.
“I’m in great condition at the minute, I’ve been training even harder, in the gym. I’m in great condition. I know I can play week-in, week-out, not a problem.
“I saw that in [Cech]. He could easily have played any moment. He just wanted to push himself to go and continue playing week-in, week-out. That’s why I used that as an example. I feel I’m in a similar situation.”
If and when Cahill does leave, he will do so as one of the most decorated players in club history, having won every competition that matters during his time at the Bridge. As it stands, his final appearance would be the FA Cup final last season, which ended with him lifting the trophy high above his head. Not a bad way to go out after 282 appearances (and 25 goals!) for Chelsea, good for a place in the club’s top 50 of all-time.
“I’m proud of my career, of what I’ve done here and what I’ve achieved in such a short space of time. For someone to come and do exactly the same in six years, I’d like to see how long that would take.
“Whatever my future holds, in terms of the club, and the relationship I have with the club and the fans, this will have been a huge part of my footballing life.”
-Gary Cahill; source: Telegraph
Things can still change of course, and Cahill may yet earn himself a few more minutes, just as he did towards the end last season. That seems unlikely at the moment, but if there’s one person in the squad whom we shouldn’t count out after all these years, it’s Gary Cahill.