Recent reports suggest Chelsea are interested in signing Everton defender John Stones, and while Roberto Martinez is unlikely to let him – or anyone – go with the Toffees flying high, it does raise an interesting question as to how the Blues’ back-line could look in the future.
With John Terry coming towards the end of his career, Ashley Cole likely to depart and David Luiz the subject of consistent speculation of his own, Jose Mourinho’s back-four could soon look considerably different than it does now.
We are going to play a bit of fantasy football here, because it would take a monster bid to take Stones away from Goodison Park; but if the 19-year-old did arrive in London, it could prompt a defensive reshuffle that could see Branislav Ivanovic switch from right-back to centre-back.
In time, the Serb could be partnered by Kurt Zouma, of whom there are very high expectations, with either Cesar Azpilicueta continuing at left-back or another new arrival taking his place.
Chelsea have been regularly linked with Southampton and England defender Luke Shaw, who is said to have followed the Blues growing up and who has already hailed Cole as the best left-back of the last decade.
Could the possibility of following in his defensive hero’s footsteps be too good to refuse? That is certainly the belief of some, with gossip columns regularly suggesting Shaw could be a Chelsea player as soon as next season.
So while there is an element of imagination going on here, recent speculation suggests Chelsea could ultimately take to the pitch with a back-four of Stones, Ivanovic, Zouma and Shaw, if they are willing to spend big and twist a few arms.
But would that back-four please fans who at the moment are focusing on a potential double and the possibility of a quality striker arriving in the close-season?