The player Rafa wants to take away from Chelsea

Chelsea cannot allow Ramires to follow Rafael Benitez to Napoli, if the Spaniard is confirmed as their next boss.

Benitez has been linked with the Napoli job for the last couple of weeks after there was no indication Chelsea would do a u-turn over his temporary position and offer him a longer contract at the club.

The Spaniard is certainly good enough to go and manage in Serie A and he has the benefit of experience from his spell at Inter Milan, where he’ll be determined not to make the same mistakes.

If he does go, then it’s only natural that several Chelsea players will be linked with moves to follow him.

One name which has already come up is Ramires, a deceptively important player to Chelsea for several reasons.

Ramires often goes undervalued in the Chelsea midfield due to the goalscoring quality of Frank Lampard and the technical ability of the big trio; Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard.

It’s arguable that Ramires is more important than all four of them because he’s changed from a flamboyant and creative player into something more typical of Chelsea, a gritty midfield player with the sole intention of causing chaos for the opposition.

Jose Mourinho could well choose to maintain David Luiz in his more advanced midfield position but he’s still very inexperienced in that role and the inconsistency of John Obi Mikel also doesn’t offer Mourinho the option to sell Ramires.

Ramires is the best player Chelsea have when it comes to that holding position in the midfield and that includes Michael Essien who will shortly return from a loan spell with Real Madrid.

What Ramires does so effectively is cover and scramble when other players are out of position.

He was unfairly criticised earlier in the season whenever David Luiz decided to fly out of defence, leaving a gaping great hole in the back four, but covering is something he’s worked very hard at and he’s arguably the best at it in England.

Chelsea are a very attacking side, filled with quality and creative players who are not always willing to track back and do the hard work at the other end of the pitch.

That has caused Ramires to change the way he plays into a much more defensively minded player, aware of the weaknesses Chelsea have especially on the counter attack.

Mourinho will be aware of this and fingers crossed he doesn’t overlook the current importance Ramires has to Chelsea because he’s very much the spine of the defence and he cannot be allowed to leave.

Would you be surprised if Ramires followed Benitez to his next job?

image: © Crystian Cruz

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch