Chelsea look set to become the next Premier League club to undergo a radical shift in the dressing room, after it became apparent that the futures of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are not as secure as first thought.
Lampard and Cole each signed one-year extensions near the end of last season, but all three now enter a period of uncertainty once again as their respective deals near their ends.
Having all been present for the resounding success experienced during Mourinho's first reign in West London, the Portuguese might have been expected to keep hold of his veteran trio.
However, the Daily Star's David Woods reports that "a source close to owner Roman Abramovich" says talks over a new deal won't take place for another few months.
Terry, Lampard and Cole will be free to enter negotiations with other clubs upon entering the final six months of their contracts on Jan. 1.
Interest in their signatures is expected to be high as well, Woods writing:
Galatasaray in Turkey have let it be known they are keen on offering skipper Terry a mega-bucks deal, while Lampard was close to agreeing a switch to LA Galaxy until the Blues offered him a one-year extension at the end of last season.
The US could also be an option for Cole, with New York Red Bulls very keen on the England star.
Boasting a collective age of 101, it's understandable why the Blues may consider freshening things up in West London.
Having said that, losing three such iconic figures at the same time could have a shattering impact, especially when one considers the trio have made a collective 40 Premier League starts this term.
Despite their ages, Terry and Lampard have both shown they still have plenty to offer the club at present. The former remains the lynchpin of the Chelsea defence, while the latter came closer than anybody to netting the winner in the Blues' recent 0-0 draw at Arsenal.
However, Cole's inclusion under Mourinho has diminished, with the right-footed Cesar Azpilicueta getting a lengthy run at left-back.
Last season, talkSPORT's Adrian Durham suggested Terry would be a perfect signing for Arsenal:
Such a suggestion represents pie-in-the-sky thinking, given Terry's allegiance to Chelsea, and all three players would likely have to leave England if Chelsea showed them the exit door.
Manchester United's current plight, though, should act as a warning of how widespread change can be detrimental to a club, with the figures of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and now Rio Ferdinand all either retiring or edging closer to the Old Trafford exit in the past year.
It was earlier in December that BBC Sport reported Mourinho saying that he was unaffected by the contract situations of his veterans, adding:
It's a situation that doesn't worry me or the club and, I think, doesn't worry the players.
Their desire to play for this club, nobody has doubts about it. Everything is very calm [and] at the end of the season, probably before that, the offer will be on the table.
The past fortnight, it seems, has affected that disposition and Chelsea may have opened up to the idea of losing their stars rather than opening negotiations.
Mourinho is attempting to take the club in a new direction, utilising attacking football, yet his team still look best when set up to be organised, as they were at Arsenal. Sometimes key figures need to be removed in order to change a team's culture.
The coming months will reveal how desperate the Blues are to hold onto the talents of Terry, Lampard and Cole. Terry appears to be the least disposable right now, while it would also be something of a shock to see Lampard call it quits in the next six months.
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