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Chelsea captain Gary Cahill has been subjected to increasing criticism of late this season from sections of the fans, particularly on social media. He was sent off in Chelsea’s season opener against Burnley, which the Blues eventually lost. The 31-year old has looked quite shaky and ineffective after returning from his three-match ban and has failed to provide the solid presence expected of a captain.
While the situation may seem harsh for Cahill, who is still an integral part of the England national team set-up, Conte needs a back three he can depend on day in and day out. For example, in the match against Bournemouth, captain for the day Azpilicueta confidently marshaled his teammates, leading by example. He was supported by Rudiger and Luiz at the back, and with Kante set to return from injury, Chelsea look better-placed to deal with the matters at hand than with Cahill in their ranks.
At 31-years of age, the centre-back still has plenty of first-team football in him, but much like John Terry, Cahill may need to move away from Stamford Bridge. If that were to happen, here are three centre-backs Chelsea could consider targeting as his replacement.
Manolas was on top of Antonio Conte’s wish list in the summer of 2016, and the manager is likely to consider a move for him again. The Greek international is a strong, well-rounded defender with enough pace, and these qualities should allow him to slot into the top tier of English football seamlessly.
Another one of the AS Roma man’s greatest assets is his ability to win almost every single aerial challenge and provide a significant threat from set pieces.
Stefan De Vrij has established himself as an integral part of Lazio’s back three. His deft touch and passing skills enable him to initiate attacks and switch play at will.
The player will undoubtedly fit into Antonio Conte’s system. Moreover, the player displayed how dependable he is when he returned from knee surgery to cement his place in the heart of the club’s defence once more, which is a far cry for most of the players these days.
Marquinhos has the talent and attitude to flourish at Stamford Bridge. He is tactically astute, swift on his feet and should have no trouble fitting into Antonio Conte’s system, alongside fellow countryman David Luiz.
The player may be a regular at the French club but PSG are likely to welcome an influx of cash to balance their books, after their multi-million spending over the summer. Thus, making a move for a player as skilled as Marquinhos at this time seems to be ideal for Conte.