Time for Chelsea to start making plans for their post-Terry future

The coming weeks offer Chelsea the chance to lay the foundations for a defensive base formed in Terry’s absence

John Terry’s current injury has provided the former England international and his club a welcome respite from the intense scrutiny of the past 12 months.

The central defender is expected to spend a further two weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury, sustained in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool. This interlude in the Terry saga offers a convenient moment to take a step back from the maelstrom of inquiries, handshakes, evidence, and judgements to see whether Chelsea should starting making plans for their post-Terry future.

Although Terry was cleared in Westminster Magistrates Court of a racially-aggravated public order offence, Terry’s reputation has been irreparably damaged and in the long-term, an opportunity to end their reliance on the talismanic figure will be hugely beneficial for the club’s own standing. The coming weeks offer Chelsea the chance to lay the foundations for a defensive base formed in Terry’s absence and in David Luiz and Gary Cahill they have two hugely-talented central defenders with as of yet, unfulfilled potential.

Both in their mid-twenties, Luiz and Cahill can enjoy upwards of five years at the heart of Chelsea’s back-line, flanked by the exciting prospect of Ryan Bertrand and Cesar Azpilicueta in the full-back positions. In addition, 28-year-old Branislav Ivanovic can offer a versatile alternative across the back four, or play as a third central defender should Roberto Di Matteo choose to adopt the tactics employed at tonight’s opponents Juventus. Jeffrey Bruma, Patrick van Aanholt, and Sam Hutchinson, all currently out on loan, are Di Matteo’s other defensive options as Chelsea look to the future, while Ashley Cole remains a reliably expert left-back.

Upcoming fixtures against Juventus, Manchester City, Fulham and West Ham give Luiz and Cahill a great opportunity to assure Di Matteo that Terry should no longer be regarded as an indispensable player at Stamford Bridge. Both have given indications they can stake their claim as real successors to Terry’s place in the side.

The pair played the full 120 minutes of the Champions League final in Munich, with Luiz showing great character to take the Blues’ second spot-kick after Juan Mata’s miss. That evening could well be viewed as a pivotal evening for the defensive duo; with the club again having to recompense for Terry’s transgressions, they exemplified their huge potential under the greatest of pressures.

In addition, both have scored important goals, with Luiz netting in wins against Manchester United and Manchester City in his first season at Stamford Bridge, and Cahill striking a superb opening goal in Chelsea’s recent victory at White Hart Lane. Furthermore, both have good disciplinary records, with neither having received a red card for the club. 

Clearly, it is too soon to be writing Terry’s footballing obituary; though his international career may be over, at club level, he is as integral as ever. His absence from the side has coincided with a downturn in results, with the Blues’ stumbling form epitomized by Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at West Brom. Consequently, it is likely that Terry will be immediately reinstated into the first team as soon as he fully recovers from his injury.

Nevertheless, this week will give intriguing answers as to whether Luiz and Cahill are ready to permanently displace Terry from the Chelsea side, or whether Di Matteo will have to consider bringing in replacements from elsewhere. The pair have the ability, temperament, and experience to succeed at Stamford Bridge. Crucially, they now have the chance.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
science
News
people
Life and Style
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
science
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
tv
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried