Chelsea assistant first-team coach Steve Holland says new signings Filipe Luis and Cesc Fabregas are the ideal replacements for the departed Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard.
Cole and Lampard leave the club having played eight and 13 seasons at Stamford Bridge, respectively, winning the Premier League together in 2010 and the Champions League in 2012, as well as four FA Cups.
However, while their past influence will be difficult to replace, Holland believes the combined £46 million additions of Atletico Madrid's Luis and Fabregas from Barcelona will ensure that the team has a smooth transition into the 2014-15 campaign.
‘They’re very difficult to replace those guys. You’re not just replacing footballers, they’re human beings with Chelsea running through their blood,’ he told Sky Sports New Radio.
‘Filipe Luis has obviously been recruited to fill that void that Ashley’s left at left-back. He’s an outstanding player who played at a club last year who were within one minute of winning the Champions League.
‘They won La Liga and in five matches they didn’t lose a game against Barcelona,’ he added. ‘I look at Brazil in the World Cup at that position and frankly, in my opinion, I can’t believe that he wasn’t a part of that squad.
‘Cesc Fabregas we’re obviously very happy with as a replacement for Frank, as a player with so much Premier League and international experience, so on we go.’
In addition to Luis and Fabregas, Chelsea have also brought in £35 million striker Diego Costa, and reports are that the club could be plotting a further bid for former Atletico teammate and centre-back Miranda.
With Blues legend Didier Drogba also rumoured to be making a shock move back to London, while the promising pair of Thibaut Courtois and Kurt Zouma return from loan spells, Jose Mourinho looks to be moulding the squad into a much deeper and more formidable outfit.
Looking to improve upon last season’s third place Premier League finish, in which Cole and Lampard were largely just bit-part players, both Luis and Fabregas should be key regulars in the lineup but, with all their rivals proving just as willing to spend in the transfer market this summer, the battle for the title will prove far from straightforward.
Will Luis and Fabregas live up to their billing at Stamford Bridge?