Three long-term Gary Cahill replacements Chelsea must target in January
Cahill, 32, has made only a single appearance for the Blues this term, coming on as a substitute in the 0-0 draw against West Ham on Sunday.
Cahill, who has won two Premier League titles, the Champions League and the FA Cup since joining Chelsea in 2012, is out of contract at the end of the season and is hoping the club does not stand in his way if he decides to move on in January.
Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz are the first-choice centre-backs under new manager Maurizio Sarri. However, if Cahill decides to leave Chelsea in January, then Chelsea would become thin in the defence as Andreas Christensen will be the only recognised centre-half Sarri will have in the squad.
Hence, here are three long-term replacements Chelsea can target in January.
Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United)
Chelsea would be wise to replace a veteran like Cahill with someone who is proven in the Premier League. The first enticing option is Newcastle United skipper Jamaal Lascelles.
Lascelles, 24, has been fantastic for Newcastle in the last couple of years and was one of the crucial reasons behind the club’s tenth-place finish last term. He will be the best option for Chelsea to consider in January due to his ball-playing skills and clever reading of the game.
Also an English talent, Sarri should try pursuing Lascelles in January, although Newcastle would be reluctant to lose their skipper midway through the campaign.
Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen)
Jonathan Tah became the youngest debutant ever to pull on a Hamburg shirt in August 2013. Now, at just 22, he is the defensive lynchpin of Bayer Leverkusen.
Tah is one of the sought-after central defenders across Europe, having lived up to the hype at Leverkusen since moving from Hamburg in 2015. He is strong, powerful, quick and technical, with ball-playing abilities.
The German is strong in the air, clean in the challenge and has the burst of pace to make recoveries. A ball-playing defender who is excellent at aerial duels and interceptions, Tah would be a fantastic long-term replacement for Cahill.
Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax)
Ajax wonderkid Matthijs De Ligt is a dream for any manager who loves his team to dominate possession and build from the back. De Ligt would simply be perfect for Sarri at Stamford Bridge.
The Dutchman progressed through Ajax’s academy ranks and represented his nation in several youth levels before making his senior debut last year. De Ligt has a strong, commanding presence in defence and possesses excellent ball-winning ability. He is also strong in the air.
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In addition to that, the 19-year-old seems to have a penchant for playing the ball from deeper areas due to his excellent passing traits. These attributes will help De Ligt progress under Sarri and Chelsea should consider signing him in January.