Date: 14th January 2015 at 5:05pm
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John Terry, our most successful Captain ever, turned 34 in December. He may very well retain a First Team spot for another two years and thus remain Captain for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, this is a pertinent moment to consider who his successor will be. Like Lampard, Terry will not play for Chelsea forever (hopefully he retires honourably and courts no controversy by joining another Premier League team).

But who are the genuine candidates?

Naturally, the candidate will come from the First Team:

Cech, Courtois, Blackman; Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Azpilicueta, Felipe Luis, Zouma, Ake, Christensen; Hazard, Fabregas, Matic, Oscar, Schurrle, Willian, Mikel, Ramires, Salah; Costa, Drogba, Remy.

What criteria will the new Captain need to meet?

Firstly, he will have to be a regular starter. This thins the options considerably:

Cech, Courtois, Blackman; Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Azpilicueta, Felipe Luis, Zouma, Ake, Christensen; Hazard, Fabregas, Matic, Oscar, Schurrle, Willian, Mikel, Ramires, Salah; Costa, Drogba, Remy.

The next Captain would preferably also be long serving i.e. been at Chelsea since at least Summer 2011, which leaves:

Courtois; Cahill, Ivanovic, Azpilicueta; Hazard, Fabregas, Matic, Oscar, Willian; Costa.

For me, Branislav isn’t the next Chelsea Captain. He has won everything with Chelsea and is long-serving, having signed in January 2008, but he doesn’t fit. He is a winner on the pitch and has scored important goals, but off the pitch he has done nothing to show that he could/should be Captain.

So who else can we turn to?

Gary Cahill is next in seniority per se, having signed in January 2012, he could provide a short-term fix, or even settle with Vice-Captaincy. Again, he doesn’t feel right as Captain – mostly because Zouma should displace him in the team.  Given the nature of the Chelsea First Team starters, I think it would be foolish to be sentimental about Cahill just because he is English. Besides, Marcel Desailly was a cool Captain.

Hazard, Oscar, Azpilicueta, and Courtois are too young.

That leaves Willian, Fabregas, Matic and Costa.

I’m going to cancel Willian since he hasn’t made much enough of an impact and because I imagine his English isn’t good enough.

Costa is a possibility since he wouldn’t be out of place in a gladiatorial arena. But realistically, language problems and his fledgling career at Chelsea count him out.

One betting firm have got Matic at 50/1 to be the next Chelsea Captain. To put that into context, Mo Salah has the same odds. Nonetheless, I believe Matic has potential for the role. He may not be long-serving technically – but he came back and has been a beast since. There is no question that Matic continually imposes himself on games and that quality marks him out.

Fabregas is an intriguing possibility. He was 21 when he became Arsenal Captain, and slating Arsenal aside, there must be a good reason he was recognised whilst so young. On the pitch, there is no doubt that he influences the game, but Mourinho also made some interesting comments about him last October:

“He is a better guy than I thought. He’s a fantastic guy, he’s a fantastic professional. Now I understand why at the age of 19 or 20 or 21 he was Arsenal captain… When I am the manager at Chelsea the armband will go to another arm that has been in this club for many, many years. But one thing is [the leader’s] brain needs to be connected with the manager, and his brain is connected to mine during matches.”

Since there are no suitable candidates amongst those who have been at Chelsea for many years, it would follow that the next Captain will wear the armband because of their pure on-pitch merit. Strange as it may seem, Cesc may very well be the obvious candidate once Terry relinquishes it.

According to Joe Tweeds, Fabregas was already shaping up to be ‘Mourinho’s Architect’ even before the Season started. As far as I can see, Cesc has fully lived up to that billing and there’s more to come. Imagine in two years time, the medals on his chest and the timeless memories he has given us; no one will doubt that Fabregas should be Chelsea Captain.

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