Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez insists the club needs to replace the old guard
Rafael Benítez has given the clearest signal yet that Chelsea’s old guard will be jettisoned as he praised the club’s “legends” for their service but insisted that new blood was essential to bring more silverware to Stamford Bridge.
Roman Abramovich, the club’s owner, is committed to attracting a new generation of talent as he searches for a style that is both progressive and successful. That process that will involve dismantling the last season’s Champions League-winning team, many of whom joined the club under Jose Mourinho.
Frank Lampard is the first guaranteed casualty, with his agent confirming at the weekend that he had been told that Lampard would not be offered a new contract when his deal expired at the end of the season.
The clear-out looks likely to claim Ashley Cole, also in the last year of his contract. John Terry and Petr Cech are also set to find their futures closely scrutinised as they approach the end of their deals.
Between them the quartet have played more than 1,700 games for Chelsea, but Benítez said that they had to accept a new generation of players was required to carry the club forward.
The Spaniard is only the interim manager at Stamford Bridge and has limited input into transfer dealings, but he is close enough to the hierarchy to know that Abramovich is committed to change.