Chelsea have exorcised the demons of 2015/16 and reclaimed their Premier League crown in emphatic fashion last season.
But the Blues know better than anyone just what happens when you rest on your laurels in this league. Chelsea need to get this summer right to avoid the shambles of Mourinho’s campaign – so which players should stay and who should be out the door this summer?
Thibaut Courtois – STAY – A year ago many fans would have been happy to see the back of the Belgian. A downturn in form and persistent flirting with Real Madrid had left the stopper with few friends in the stands of Stamford Bridge. However, one year on and Courtois has won the Golden Glove and declared his desire to stay at Chelsea. His quality is undoubted and if Chelsea are to challenge in the Champions League then keeping Courtois is a must.
Eduardo – STAY – Performs the job of third choice keeper as well as any, and signed a new one year deal on Monday.
2. Wing Backs
Victor Moses – STAY – Moses has been sensational. The winger has made his conversion to wing back look easy, and will be looking to carry his form into next season and establish himself on the biggest stage.
Marcos Alonso – STAY– Alonso’s signing was met with groans of disapproval, but it was arguably the signing that allowed Conte to play his favoured three at the back. He has been superb all season and is becoming a serious dead ball threat, Chelsea must fight off overtures from Barcelona and keep the Spaniard.
Kenedy – GO – Kenedy showed promise under Hiddink, but ultimately a failed loan spell at Watford and questions over his attitude still loom. A permanent transfer is probably best for both club and player.
3. Centre Backs
David Luiz – STAY – He has been an absolute revelation, his reading of the game and ability on the ball make him the perfect player for the central role in a back three.
Cesar Azpilicueta – STAY – The Spaniard has played every minute of the title winning campaign, a sensational achievement. Few players in the league can match Azpilicueta for consistency, he has become a key cog in Conte’s machine.
Gary Cahill – STAY – Few could follow in Terry’s footsteps, but Cahill has done an admirable job this season. The new captain on the pitch has been a towering force for the Blues, and scored important goals throughout the season.
Kurt Zouma – GO (On-loan) – Zouma has struggled to break into what has been a settled side this season. The Frenchman has a lot of potential but needs to overcome his injury, something that will need minutes on the pitch, the kind Chelsea might not be able to provide him with.
Andreas Christensen – STAY – One of the best young centre backs in Europe, the Dane will be playing for Chelsea next season after a two-year loan at Borussia Monchengladbach. Interest from Barcelona and Bayern Munich shows just how highly rated he is, and the youngster could save Chelsea a cool £50m this summer.
Nathan Ake – STAY – The Dutch youngster impressed with Bournemouth before being recalled in January. It was always going to be a tricky task to break into such a settled team, but Ake has impressed when called on and should be in line for a bigger role next season
John Terry – GO – Captain, Leader, Legend. Terry departs the club this summer, and for the first time the team is able to cope with that. The side has moved on as Terry’s power has waned, but his influence will be missed off the pitch.
4. Defensive Midfielders
N’golo Kante – STAY – It is hard to think of a player that has had a more profound impact on a team, Kante’s work rate has refreshed the side and provided the platform for the team to perform. Completely priceless.
Nemanja Matic – STAY – Another player who one year ago was being linked with a move away. His form this season has been dramatically improved and the towering Serbian will be a key figure next season with those difficult away ties in Europe to contend with.
Nathaniel Chalobah – STAY – Chalobah has looked impressive in his 15 appearances this season, often coming on in the latter stages of games to help close them out, not dissimilar to role Mikel used to play. With more games will come more opportunities, and Chalobah is player with immense potential. Definitely needs to stay next season.
5. Attacking Midfielders
Cesc Fabregas – STAY – Struggled for a place in the first half of the season but has since won it back. He is Chelsea’s best passer and will have a big role to play next season.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – GO (On-loan) – No player is more in need of a loan move in Chelsea’s squad than Loftus-Cheek. The youngster has enormous potential, but that will not be unlocked by playing five minutes at the end of a game for Chelsea. A good Premier League loan will do wonders for him.
Eden Hazard – STAY – Simply put, he MUST stay, he is irreplaceable for Chelsea. There is no player Chelsea could bring in for £100m that would be able to fill his boots.
Pedro – STAY – After a hugely underwhelming first season Pedro is now showing the player we saw for Barcelona. He has had a tremendous season, and should be looking to build on that next year.
Willian – STAY – Willian has found himself out the side this season due to the performances of Pedro. But the Brazilian is a tireless worker and has performed brilliantly when called upon.
Bertand Traore – GO – Showed promise in 20/15/16 and has been impressive for Ajax during this one. However, Chelsea will ultimately be bringing in big names this summer and a space for Traore in the squad is unlikely.
Charly Musonda – GO (On-loan) – Musonda showed huge promise at Betis before being recalled. He has too much ability for a 19-year-old to sell him, so a loan is most likely.
Diego Costa – GO – Considering the now infamous text message Conte allegedly sent to Costa, the player basically as no future at the club and will be sold on. The question is where; Atletico would have been the obvious choice, but they have their transfer ban, while China no loner looks likely due to changes in their transfer rules. Watch this space…
Michy Batshuayi – STAY – The Belgian may have struggled for game time this season, but he has scored whenever called upon and deserves a bigger chance next season. The club could easily sell/loan him this summer only to bring in a new player for another £30m who flops. The Batman has earned his chance.
Tammy Abraham – GO (On-loan) – Abraham has had a sensational season in the Championship, and needs game time in the Premier League next. Whilst Chelsea have more games to contend with next season, Abraham needs week in week out football, which is unlikely at Stamford Bridge. This season is a year too soon for him, and a Premier League loan is needed.