Chelsea FC: 6 Central Defenders Who Could Replace Alex
Unusually for Chelsea, their main problems this season have come in the form of defensive frailties.
So Alex's tiff with Andre Villas-Boas won't have helped matters.
The Brazilian centre-back has been part of the squad for several seasons now, and having been transfer-listed, there are going to be some big shoes to fill in the Chelsea back four.
Gary Cahill looks set to move to Stamford Bridge, but there could also be other players who could be brought in to fill this hole.
Here is a list of some of the possible contenders.
This 23-year-old German is one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe at the moment.
Coming through the Bayern Munich youth system, he joined Borussia Dortmund in 2008.
After a string of impressive performances for club and country, a number of the top European clubs have made enquiries regarding his availability.
Estimated Market Value: £16 million
Stoke City have got themselves a reputation as a team that are extremely difficult to break down.
At the heart of this solid defence is 24-year-old Ryan Shawcross.
Captain of his club at a very young age of 22, he is a class act, admired throughout the Premier League.
An "old school" defender, he is not scared to go in to hard tackles and wears his heart on his sleeve every time he plays.
Stoke will not want to see their captain leave, but with the right offer, anything is possible.
Estimated Market Value: £8 million
Standing at 6'4" tall, Neven Subotic is quite a daunting presence for attackers to face.
The second Borussia Dortmund player on this list, he has been marshalling Dortmund's defence since 2008.
Having already reportedly sent out a "come-and-get-me" plea to Chelsea, he has shown his will to play in England.
Estimated Market Value: £16 million
One of the many Porto players who has reportedly been missing Andre Villas-Boas' company, Rolando looked set to join Chelsea in the summer.
For some reason, this deal never materialised, but this hasn't changed Chelsea's admiration for him.
The 6'2" Portugal international has been solid and consistent since joining Porto in 2008, and still only 26 years old, he has a lot more years at top level left in his career.
As well as being a top-class defender, he knows where the goal is—something any club would want to bring to their ranks.
Estimated Market Value: £15 million
Chelsea through and through, Sam Hutchinson has been at the club since 1999.
But his career seemed to be tragically cut short when he retired from football in August 2010 due to a recurring knee injury.
One year later, much to everyone at Chelsea's delight, he came out of retirement, following a miraculous recovery.
He has since been playing for the reserve team and has even made his way on to the first-team bench.
He was once seen as "the next John Terry," and if he can remain free of injury, he could stamp his place in the Blues' back four.
Cahill's move to Chelsea seems to be a done deal, with a fee having been agreed with Bolton.
The England international has been very impressive in recent seasons at the Reebok Stadium, and looks tailor-made to work well with John Terry.
If personal terms can be agreed (which seems to be the only reason Cahill is not yet a Chelsea player), then he could turn out to be bargain at only £7 million.
His £100,000-a-week wage request could, however, be a put-off for Abramovich.
If all these issues can be settled, then at only 26, Cahill could have a long and successful Chelsea career.
Estimated Market Value: £7 million