5 Chelsea Players Set to Have Breakout Seasons with the Blues
Preseason is over and the transfer window deadline is looming, which only means one thing: A new season is nearly upon us.
Chelsea's preseason wasn't the blistering start they had hoped for, winning only one of their five games, but it is not yet time to panic because, as we know, preseason isn't an accurate gauge for how a team will perform once the season has begun.
It did give us a look at the new Chelsea recruits as well as some of the Blues that are expected to impress next year.
Ramires was the big breakout star last year, as he started to prove his worth and ended up being one of Chelsea's best performers throughout the year.
So, who are the new players that are set to come out of their shell this season and fulfill their potential?
Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to see Ryan Bertrand in any Chelsea preseason fixture, but if you have been following the Olympic football tournament you have seen him playing for Great Britain.
Team GB were not exactly impressive during their time in the competition, but Ryan Bertrand stood out as one of the more solid performers for the British side.
Bertrand is a very talented young footballer and a man that Roberto Di Matteo clearly has faith in, putting his trust in the young Englishman to play in the Champions League final.
He repaid his manager's trust in him that night with a very mature performance, showing that he will play a big part in Chelsea's future.
Unfortunately for Bertrand, the man he is fighting with for the left-back position is Ashley Cole, who is still considered one of the best full-backs on the planet.
But with Cole getting on in years, this season may be the one where Bertrand is more fully integrated into the team.
I think we will see him play a big part in a large chunk of games, whether it's starting FA Cup and Champions League games or figuring more in the Premier League. With more game time, I think we will see his true talents shine through.
This young man is already a star, but the big question is: Can he perform in the most competitive league in the world?
He was one of Chelsea's better performers during preseason, but the Premier League is an entirely different kettle of fish.
Hazard already has his critics, with people condemning him to flop before he's even kicked a ball in a competitive Chelsea game.
From what I have seen of him so far, Chelsea fans have something to be very excited about.
He is fast, skillful, intelligent and ambitious, but he also has a stocky strong frame that will hopefully help him cope with the physical style of play in the Premier League.
You have to expect him to play a big part in Chelsea's 2012-13 campaign, and he seems like a player that can walk the walk and prove to his critics that he is a world-class footballer.
Gary Cahill has had an up-and-down time at Chelsea, suffering from a few injuries during his time at Stamford Bridge.
I'm not going to label him as injury-prone just yet because he couldn't exactly do much about his fractured jaw.
But with Chelsea focusing on attacking signings so far this summer, this could leave the door open for Gary Cahill to become a permanent fixture in the Blues' back four.
John Terry still has at least a season left in him at the top level, but he may not figure as much next season and, with an FA ban looming over him, there will be a gap at centre-back next season.
Branislav Ivanovic may have been called in to centre-back in Terry's absence, but with Jose Bosingwa's Chelsea exit, he will probably be deployed at right-back more often.
This gives Cahill the opportunity to prove he can be a worthy replacement to John Terry when he eventually retires and that he is ready to be an important figure in a top side.
This 20-year-old Brazilian starlet has just been announced as Chelsea's new No. 11.
Chelsea fans shouldn't be expecting a Didier Drogba replacement, but what they can expect is an extremely gifted young midfielder.
A few eyebrows were raised when Chelsea splashed over £20 million on a relatively unknown player, but if what he has shown in the Olympics is anything to go by, then he looks to be a sound investment.
He has been one of the stand-out players in a star-studded Brazil Olympic side, and Chelsea fans have been getting excited at the prospect of seeing what he can bring to Stamford Bridge.
Usually when such a young player is brought in to a big club, they aren't expected to see much game time during their first season, but Oscar could be an exception to this rule.
He probably won't be playing in his preferred "No. 10" role but more likely in a slightly more defensive role.
This may seem as if it would hinder his talent, but really it will give him a chance to use his vision and passing to move play from defence to attack smoothly.
If he gets the game time he needs and performs well, then he could be a major player for Chelsea next season.
It has been a successful summer for Fernando Torres, but unfortunately for Chelsea fans, it hasn't been in a blue shirt.
Following Spain's Euro 2012 victory and Torres' own golden boot prize, he took a well-deserved summer break before joining up with his Chelsea teammates midway through their USA tour.
He didn't have the goal run in preseason that he and all Chelsea fans would have wanted, but it is quite clear that he will be Chelsea's main man upfront next season.
Torres is not a unknown player, and his being on this list might seem strange considering his impressive past.
But for Chelsea he has been a different player, and all Blues fans are still yet to see his full ability in a Chelsea shirt.
With Drogba now gone, it's up to Torres to lead from the front and not let the pressure get to him like we have seen in the past.
He looked impressive towards the end of last season and for Spain in Euro 2012, and I see no reason why he can't carry this form forward to help Chelsea to successful league and European campaigns.