COS contributor William Turvill wonders what the future holds for the Stamford Bridge champions elect.
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There has been much talk in the last couple of years about the age of Chelsea’s squad. Chelsea’s supporters are constantly told, mainly by the media and rival-managers, that the heart of Chelsea’s side are on the wrong side of 30 – or at least, in the cases of John Terry and Ashley Cole, approaching it.
Is it surprising that Chelsea’s best players are their players at around the age of 30?
What these theorists seem to forget, or neglect to mention, is that the age of 30 is the age at which a lot of players do peak. Salomon Kalou is around the same age that Didier Drogba was when he first came to the club. In Drogba’s first season he scored 10 league goals; Kalou, after starting 2 Premier League games (and being subbed on for 4), already has half of that tally.
Where will the ‘heart’ of the Chelsea team be in 5 years?
The heart of Chelsea’s team, currently, is (though it is debatable) Petr Cech, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba. It is likely that Cech (33) and Terry (34) will both have a few years left in them. Unfortunately, Lampard (37), Drogba (37), Malouda (35) and, possibly, Ashley Cole (34) are all likely to have hung up their boots by this time. These 4, though, will all have certainly played their parts in the previous 5 seasons – with a steadily declining influence.
Will this mean an on-pitch crisis for Chelsea?
The situation is not a bad one, even if you ignore the fact that Chelsea have money to buy new players, as well as a host of promising young players coming through the ranks. With Cech and Terry still going strong, it is likely that they will be joined by the likes of Essien (32), Kalou (30), Mikel (28) and Ivanovic (31) at the ‘heart’ of the side. This is not to mention the players who are beginning to, but have not quite, made names for themselves at the club yet – Sturridge, Zhirkov and Ramires are also, if still around, likely to be big and important names at Chelsea.
Now that we’ve seen that Chelsea’s future crisis is a fallacy, the question is begged, what will Chelsea’s team look like in 5 years?
Discounting all of the players who could be bought, young players who we have yet to see much of (like Mellis, Cork and Kalas) and younger players who have not even been heard of yet; this is a possible starting line-up for Chelsea in exactly 5 years:
GK: Cech (33)
RB: Bruma (24)
CB: Ivanovic (31)
CB: Terry (34)
LB: Van Aanholt (25)
DM: Mikel (28)
RCM: Essien (32)
LCM: McEachran (22)
RWM: Kalou (30)
ST: Sturridge (26)
LWM: Kakuta (24)
Even now this is a difficult team to choose. This selection leaves the likes of Ramires, Zhirkov, Borini, Matic, maybe Alex and countless other players, who have not been taken into account, on the bench.
Interestingly, the combined age of this team is 1 year younger than the Chelsea team who beat Blackburn Rovers at the weekend; both average out at the age of just over 28.
In my opinion, Chelsea Football Club will be in a very strong position ,still, in 5 years time; even without the current ‘heart’ of the team.
Agreements, disagreements, thoughts and your starting line-ups for this time, are welcome…