Forget Zouma! Chelsea have already signed John Terry's replacement for £7 million

Chelsea don't have to worry in the unlikely event that John Terry turns down a new contract.

As talk over a new deal for Chelsea icon John Terry rolls on, Jose Mourinho will already be thinking about how he’s going to replace one of his most reliable players.

While they signed Kurt Zouma on deadline day, the Frenchman may take time to adapt to the Premier League, the good news for the Blues is that they already have someone who has proved he can fill Terry’s void, the man they signed for £7 million from Bolton Wanderers.

Gary Cahill had an inconsistent start to his Chelsea career but his performance last night against Manchester City proved he can perform to a very high level on the big occasion, something Terry has guaranteed throughout his career.

Cahill has been a key component of the Chelsea back four this season with 18 starts in the Premier League and his dominant performance last night suggests he’ll be the player others rotate around once Terry decides to call it a day.

There is nothing between Terry and Cahill this season in terms of tackling and being a difficult central defender to get the better of, with Cahill almost matching Terry's stats in far less time on the pitch.

PlayerClubPosWon TackleAppsMins
César Azpilicueta Chelsea DF 40 16 1,155
Ashley Cole Chelsea DF 25 13 1,104
John Terry Chelsea DF 14 24 2,160
Gary Cahill Chelsea DF 13 17 1,530

Only the full backs have made more tackles in terms of the defenders in the side which is unsurprising considering the greater freedom they enjoy down the left and right of the pitch, which means more duels in different positions.

Cahill also has the ability to take the opposition’s aerial game out of the equation, forcing them to play through the middle which is arguably easier for a defence to contain.

PlayerClubPosAerial WonAppsMins
Branislav Ivanovic Chelsea DF 91 22 1,920
John Terry Chelsea DF 79 24 2,160
Gary Cahill Chelsea DF 67 17 1,530

One of the reasons Terry has been so popular at Chelsea for so long is because he has that natural, guaranteed ability to be able to mop up long balls, crosses and see off danger from corners.

Cahill is already a fantastic centre back and Mourinho will be working hard on a daily basis to make him a more complete defender.

There are areas where he struggles such as how he reads the game, with Terry and several other players way ahead in terms of interceptions.

PlayerClubPosInterception WonAppsMins
Branislav Ivanovic Chelsea DF 26 22 1,920
David Luiz Chelsea DF 23 12 993
Ramires Chelsea MF 22 23 2,069
John Obi Mikel Chelsea MF 21 18 856
César Azpilicueta Chelsea DF 19 16 1,155
Ashley Cole Chelsea DF 16 13 1,104
Eden Hazard Chelsea FW 15 24 2,015
Gary Cahill Chelsea DF 13 17 1,530

However, that can be explained through Terry’s lack of pace and having to break from position to step in, intercepting the ball before it can reach a player who will exploit that slowness.

Even if Terry left this summer, which is highly unlikely, Chelsea would retain four key and talented defenders who can play through central defence in Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz, Kurt Zouma and Cahill.

Cahill could easily be the leader of that pack.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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