Two Serie A players who could ultimately replace Chelsea's John Terry

Chelsea's John Terry in action

With Chelsea's John Terry's career slowly coming to an end, could the likes of Bonucci or Manolas take up the mantle?

Chelsea's John Terry before the match

Chelsea's John Terry before the match

Chelsea fans have seen pretty much everything in the last 15 years at the club. A meteoric rise, backed by huge funds from owner Roman Abramovich has seen Premier League titles, a Champions League triumph, some very special talent and the rise of some truly legendary players.

They have also seen a lot of turbulence: constant management turnover, huge wastes of money and - last season - ignominy in the league and in Europe. It's fair to say then that not much really surprises a Chelsea fan anymore. However, when John Terry inevitably leaves Chelsea, it will come as a massive shock to the system with the Blues’ captain an ever present part of their team.

Whether it is to ply his trade with another side as his career slows down (although not, Terry says, in the Premier league), or to hang his boots up indefinitely, it will be a sad day for all involved with the club. So, who could replace Terry at centre-back? As neither Gary Cahill or Branislav Ivanovic are particularly young, a successor at centre-back is something that Antonio Conte will be looking at.

So who could fill the enormous gap Terry would leave? Here's a couple of ideas:

Italy's Leonardo Bonucci celebrates at the end of the match

                               Italy's Leonardo Bonucci celebrates at the end of the match

Leonardo Bonucci

Possibly not the most obvious choice, but Leonardo Bonucci is one of the modern game’s best defenders. The Juventus centre back has almost 200 caps for the Old Lady in a career spent entirely in Italy.

The 29-year-old has been a mainstay for the Italian champions in the centre of the defence since 2010. Bonucci has been playing at the highest level for both club and country for years, and is no stranger to victory and silverware. Juventus have been all dominating in Serie A, and reached the 2014/15 Champions League final - proof that Bonucci is no stranger to playing on the biggest stage.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte worked closely with Bonucci during his time as Italian coach, and some are wondering if the relationship they formed on the international stage could convince Bonucci to re-join his former coach.

Bonucci is also renowned for his superb passing ability. His range of passing and intelligence on the ball adds another dimension to a side’s defence while he racking passes are often what sets his team on the attack. He is also a huge threat from set-pieces, with his height and strength constantly causing problems for the opposition in their box. A competent ball playing centre-back is like gold dust in modern football. At 29-years-old, however, Bonucci isn’t the type of defender that will be able to build a legacy a Chelsea like Terry has.

Replacing Terry at Chelsea though is not all about what a player has won or, interestingly enough, what they physically bring to the side. Terry is renowned for his leadership qualities - and this is exactly what Bonucci would bring to Chelsea. The Italian defender is a huge presence at Juventus and, having an experienced and vocal player at the back is something Chelsea will require when Terry leaves.

AS Roma's Kostas Manolas (L) in action with Real Madrid Karim Benzema .

                             AS Roma's Kostas Manolas (L) in action with Real Madrid Karim Benzema .

Kostas Manolas

Kostas Manolas is an example of an old style defender mixed in with a modern footballer. The Greek International is a deceptively quick defender who doesn't shy away from a tackle. Currently playing for Roma, the centre-back has nearly 100 caps for the Italian side, and is only 25-years-old.

What is interesting about Manolas is that for a relatively inexperienced player, he is still the leader of the Roma defence - a prerequisite of any Terry replacement. 

Much like Bonucci, Manolas is a very gifted defender and a competent footballer with the ball at his feet. He is also a very tactically minded player, with his ability to pre-empt an attack a constant help to his team. This is akin to Terry’s entire style of play. The Englishman was not blessed with pace, even at the start of his career. He has, however, always been very adept with his positional sense and defensive awareness, something Manolas which can bring to any team.

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