This summer’s football headlines will mainly consist of World Cup heroics and heartbreak, but first it is time to take a look at players leaving and entering the club. Chelsea FC is saying goodbye to two legends, but Jose Mourinho will be looking to make his squad stronger than ever.
John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, and Petr Cech were the core of the Chelsea squad that had been in southwest London since Mourinho’s first stint as the Blues’ manager. Terry, the club captain for years, has extended his contract while Cech is still on board, but Lampard and Cole are heading for new pastures this season.
Lampard, who is turning 36 this month, leaves behind a legendary 13-year career at Chelsea. The former West Ham man parted ways with the club as a hero and a fan favorite. Lampard made his debut in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle in 2001 and the rest is history.
The vice-captain made 648 appearances for the club with only Ron Harris and Peter Bonetti featuring more. The most impressive stat is the fact that Lampard leaves Chelsea as the highest goalscorer, as a midfielder, with 211 strikes finding the back of the net. Here are his complete club statistics. (Via chelseafc.com)
Lampard departs with a plethora of silverware, including the 2012 Champions League trophy and three Premier League trophies.
Ashley Cole, considered to be the best left back in the world during his prime, also enjoyed a fantastic career with the club. He had been a vital part in a dominant Chelsea defense for years until age caught up to him in the past few seasons.
Lampard’s departure seems a bit more pressing, but Mourinho and company should be fine. Ramires, John Obi Mikel and Nemanja Matic are all capable players that can excel in the holding midfield position that Lampard has commandeered in the last few seasons, but Mourinho will probably look to add depth.
There have been reports that the club may make make a splash for Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas. The Spaniard moved back to his hometown club in 2011, but he has struggled to make a position in the crowded midfield his own. Fabregas, only 27, can still play at an extremely high level and has the vision and defensive maturity that Mourinho would want to partner with Matic.
Cole will be replaced by Cesar Azpilicueta. The young Spaniard made a name for himself last season, and he looks to fit in nicely alongside Terry. The only concern in defense is depth at center back. With David Luiz’s record breaking transfer to PSG, there are only three center backs who played in league action last year.
Terry and Gary Cahill are the clear starters and Tomas Kalas can back the two up, but Mourinho will definitely be looking to buy another.
Chelsea’s one glaring weakness since the 2012 Champions League Final has been the lack of a predatory striker, but that need looks to have been addressed. Atletico Madrid superstar Diego Costa has had his medical at Cobham and looks to give the Blues that extra punch necessary in front of goal.
It is early in the summer, but expect Mourinho to make a few more purchases before the season.