Jose Mourinho and the Future of Chelsea's 'Old Guard'

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Jose Mourinho and the Future of Chelsea's 'Old Guard'
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Of the six holdovers from Jose Mourinho’s first stint as Chelsea manager one has already made way. Michael Essien’s exit from Stamford Bridge to the San Siro in January has left John Obi Mikel, Petr Cech, Frank Lampard, John Terry and Ashley Cole as the remaining Mourinho disciples.

Each of the five has history with the club; and their futures are in the hands of the man who moulded the success Chelsea have enjoyed the past ten seasons.

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John Obi Mikel 

The Nigerian international has amassed 303 Chelsea appearances in eight seasons for Chelsea, and he is under contract until summer 2017. As Essien has made way, one less holding-midfield player bodes well for Mikel’s future—whether on the pitch or on the substitutes' bench.

Petr Cech

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Thibaut Courtois and his father have been awfully talkative this year, per Belgian agency RTBF (h/t to ESPN), regarding the young Belgian’s future. The starlet keeper wants to walk into Chelsea’s goalposts without competition; essentially he's opposed to a battle with Cech for goalkeeping supremacy.

Other than a cheap goal conceded against West Bromwich Albion in November, the Czech international has been his consistent, reliable self—showing no signs of regression. His place between the posts next season has been hinted by Mourinho to be a cert; so look for the Courtois drama to continue into the summer.

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Frank Lampard

Chelsea’s all-time leading goal scorer is in the last six months of his Chelsea contract, and according to Steve Stammers of The Mirror he’s certain to be offered an annual renewal. Lampard’s performance this season hasn’t been prolific but injuries and management have played a factor.

Currently on 634 Chelsea appearances and 103 England caps, Lampard’s played a lot of professional football; so should he retire after the World Cup it would be understandable. But, per Stammers' article, the 35 year-old is ready to accept his yearly extension and remain part of the Chelsea first team in 2014-15.

John Terry 

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Whether captain or coach, Roman Abramovich will likely be paying Terry next season, per the Daily Mail's Neil Ashton. The Chinese whispers of the former England international leaving Stamford Bridge, per The Daily Mirror's John Cross, have transformed into him becoming a coach, according to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, and most recently leaning towards accepting a one-year extension, as Ashton suggests.

In either event, his value to the club is greatly diminished by an exit, so the club should be looking at every option to keep their long-serving skipper involved with the programme.

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Ashley Cole

Of all the Chelsea “Old Guard,” Cole looks most likely to make an exit this summer, per David Woods of the Daily Star. The emergence of Cesar Azpilicueta has all but sealed Cole’s fate, with the Spanish defender enjoying a death grip on Chelsea’s left-back role.

The 33 year-old has played well when given the opportunity, but it seems he is one to be phased out, rather than kept like Lampard and Terry. Strange circumstances surrounding this one, as Cole’s likely to play in the World Cup this June.

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Terry and Lampard are ambassadors of the club, and their exit would seem improbable. Cech and Cole are long-time servants, who are extremely valuable to the club. Mikel's time in Chelsea has been decorated, and he looks poised to continue his spell for the time being at least.

Their tenure with Chelsea has been the most fruitful and victorious in the club's history. The quintet has won every major trophy you can win in England, adding both the Europa League and Champions League to Chelsea's silverware haul; but all good things must come to an end as the old adage goes.

The next 18 months will see big changes in west London. The soothing part is the man who laid the foundation of Chelsea's last decade, is now in charge of its current renovations.

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