Although it’s been a good season for Chelsea, it hasn’t quite been so positive on a personal level for defensive stalwart Gary Cahill this past year.
The Blues lifted the Europa League trophy in midweek and secured a top-four finish in the Premier League, finishing only behind title rivals Man City and Liverpool who set a pace of their own.
In turn, Maurizio Sarri has made a fine start to life in England, although his arrival hasn’t been good news for Cahill who was limited to just eight appearances in the campaign.
The 33-year-old will be a free agent next month, and so with an extended stay at Stamford Bridge unlikely, he is expected to move on and according to The Sun, a return to Aston Villa could now be on the cards to end his misery and frustration of being a bit-part player at Chelsea.
Cahill knows the club very well having played for Villa between 2004 and 2008 before joining Bolton and going on to win countless trophies at Chelsea, including two Premier League titles, two Europa Leagues and a Champions League.
With that in mind and having been such a key figure in that success for the most part, it will be bitterly disappointing for him to leave and find another challenge at this stage of his career.
Nevertheless, with Dean Smith leading Villa back into the Premier League after the Championship playoff final win over Derby County on Monday, they will now need to build a squad capable of keeping them in the top flight next season.
His defence will certainly prove to be problematic given first choice pairing Axel Tuanzebe and Tyrone Mings will both see their loan spells expire this summer, and so in the event that neither return either on loan or on a permanent basis, Smith will need defensive reinforcements and one could arrive in the form of Cahill.