Despite there still being a possibility of a new deal, Chelsea veteran John Terry looks set to leave the club this summer when his contract expires.
It is reported that the former England international could yet earn a new offer, as claimed by The Daily Mail, but it remains to be seen whether or not the two parties are able to reach an agreement.
With speculation continuing to suggest that Antonio Conte is an official announcement away from being named the new Chelsea boss, as noted by The Express, the Italian tactician faces a difficult job of replacing the influential leader that has been part of the club’s defence for over a decade.
However, one man who could be ready to step into the breach is Juventus and Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci, who has been linked with a reunion with his former coach at Stamford Bridge, according to Football Italia.
The 28-year-old has been an immovable presence for both club and country since moving to Turin in 2010, making nearly 200 Serie A appearances for the Bianconeri and winning countless trophies to show for his efforts.
Since arriving from Bari, the towering centre-half has won four league titles, a Coppa Italia trophy, a Supercoppa Italiana and was a runner-up in the Champions League last season having lost in the final to Barcelona.
In terms of consistency, reliability, leadership, defensive solidity and a talent for building from the back, there are few other centre-backs in Europe currently who offer as many guarantees and assurances as Bonucci. As a result, it is no surprise that, if true, he has been singled out by Conte to be one of his first signings for Chelsea.
At 35 years of age, Terry will eventually have to step aside and allow a younger star to take his place. Although he hasn’t shown too many signs of a decline in recent weeks after overcoming a difficult first few months of the season, Chelsea can’t rely on him forever.
As a result, Conte will be well advised to start looking for alternatives now, and if he is able to prise Bonucci away from Juventus, then it will be a solid start to his tenure and rebuilding process at Stamford Bridge.