Ryan Bertrand could be under a lot of pressure over the rest of the season with his Chelsea future in the balance.
Ryan Bertrand was once hailed as the natural successor to Ashley Cole in the left back slot at Chelsea but he’s failed to have the sort of impact that his potential has always meant he’s capable of.
The club now have a big decision over whether to invest more time in the 23-year-old or look in the transfer market this summer, to find a suitable replacement for Cole once he calls time on his playing career.
Here is good evidence to suggest that Bertrand deserves to be given more of a chance at the club because he’s only made 11 starts and five sub appearances in the Premier League this season.
Not all of those appearances have been at left back because Rafa Benitez has used him in a more advanced role a couple of times, which tends to suggest that he’s a million miles away from taking Cole’s position in the team.
The other clear point to make relates to the new boss who comes into the club this summer. The new manager may want to use Bertrand in a higher ratio of games, which naturally gives him a greater chance to improve, progress and become a generally better player.
It’s a fine one to judge because Chelsea could find it very difficult to not make an approach for Luke Shaw of Southampton, a player who could be available this summer.
Shaw is rated as one of the best young full backs in England and he’s still just a teenager which means Chelsea can literally coach him into replacing Cole. Chelsea could afford the fee and Shaw would jump at the chance to move to a bigger club.
Where that leaves Bertrand is unclear because a transfer like that would suggest the club intend to axe him or loan him out as quickly as possible.
That or they are thinking of changing Bertrand’s position to a more advanced left midfield role, which may not be the best idea because he doesn’t seem to have the game to be prolific in that position.
It’s unlikely that Bertrand will want to remain a squad player for much longer because he’s only got three or four more years before he reaches the average peak age for top flight football players.
Therefore, he could take this decision out of Chelsea’s hands and force a move away from Stamford Bridge which could be very likely if his future at the club becomes untenable.
As things stand Bertrand will probably try to hold out for more of a fair chance to make the left back slot his own but that all depends on who becomes the club’s next boss.
If the new boss uses him in the same way Benitez has done, then his association with Stamford Bridge could well end.
Chelsea fans, would you like to keep him?
image: © Ben Sutherland