Chelsea’s current squad is filled to the brim with talent, but one man that has stood out above the rest for quite some time is Cesar Azpilicueta. The Spaniard has been the picture of consistency at Stamford Bridge over the last few years, and regardless of his position, he’s delivered brilliant performance after brilliant performance.
It’s no surprise, then, that he’s been Chelsea’s captain this season in the absence of Gary Cahill. He’s the kind of player that everyone should aspire to be; a natural leader, a consistent player and an individual that is ready to do whatever he is asked of.
However, despite his fantastic run at Chelsea, could the Spaniard be on the verge of a concerning situation? Throughout much of his tenure at Stamford Bridge, he’s had little competition for a starting berth, as nobody has been able to offer close to his level of quality and sustained dominance.
According to the Evening Standard, though, Chelsea are said to be considering promoting Reece James into the first team at Stamford Bridge next season thanks to his fine form on loan at Wigan Athletic this season. He’s been a regular in the Championship this term, and he’s also been named in the Championship Team of the Season.
Naturally, the immediate thought when considering the arrival of a young player at Chelsea would be for them to come in as a backup, and certainly, his presence in the team would likely begin that way and would likely end Davide Zappacosta’s run in the squad as a result, but James could go one step further.
That’s because, in many ways, Reece James is the perfect player for Chelsea. Unlike Azpilicueta, he’s made for Maurizio Sarri’s system, as his style of play would suggest. An attacking defender, he’s fantastic at getting forward with the ball and driving towards goal, with the defender possessing good pace and energy. He’s also comfortable with the ball at his feet, and he rarely stumbles when running at pace. That would suit Sarri’s system, as he likes full-backs to get forward and contribute to the attacking phase. That all said, he’s also able to retain defensive solidity, and he’s been one of Wigan’s standout players in that regard.
In addition, despite Azpilicueta’s fantastic consistency over the years, it’s fair to say that his game this season has gone down a level or two. That’s not to say that he hasn’t performed well, but it’s been obvious at points that he’s not quite suitable for Maurizio Sarri’s system. He hasn’t got the offensive quality to excel, and his lack of pace and dribbling quality mean that he’s certainly a player that Chelsea could upgrade upon.
News of a potential promotion for James, then, should concern Azpilicueta. Nobody in this team is undroppable, and certainly, James appears to be well suited. He’d certainly start the season as a backup if he does return, but in time, it’s hard to see him not showcasing his ability and forcing his way ahead of the very talented Spaniard in the very near future.
Chelsea fans – what do you think? Can you see this happening? Let us know below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!
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