Chelsea reportedly won't offer veteran defender John Terry a new contract despite Kurt Zouma's knee injury, and they are instead planning on bringing Andreas Christensen back from his loan spell with Borussia Monchengladbach.
According to the Daily Telegraph (h/t Daily Star's Luke Gardener), the Blues want their next manager to decide on Terry's fate, and with interim boss Guus Hiddink set to stay in charge until the end of the season, a final decision won't be made until the club captain's contract runs out in the summer.
The 35-year-old wants to continue with the Blues, and plenty of fans are outraged by the fact the club legend isn't being offered a new deal.
Per Sky Sports, former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry believes they should at least give him some clarity, as he said while appearing on Super Sunday:
I don't understand how you can leave a man like that in the dark.
How can you not sit with him and talk, say 'maybe we didn't find a deal for you yet', or 'let's see you again in a month'. The way he is talking it sounds like there is no communication.
As soon as he said what he did last week, Chelsea were quick to say 'we are open to discussions'. I think whoever is dealing with the discussions didn't expect the reaction from the fans, but it's the right one. He has to be here. The guys they buy are not going to have the same influence he is having.
Per Gardener, Zouma will be sidelined for six months with a knee injury, a major blow to Chelsea's defence. The young France international was enjoying a fantastic campaign for the Blues, and more often than not led the team's back line.
As shared by ESPN FC, the 21-year-old was outperforming both Terry and Gary Cahill in a number of statistical categories this season:
ESPN FC @ESPNFC
Kurt Zouma, out for season, leads John Terry and Gary Cahill on: Appearances Tackles Clearances Aerial duels won https://t.co/fCTdF7at9y2/9/2016, 10:38:05 AM
With the transfer window now shut, Chelsea won't be able to find an immediate replacement, and there's a good chance Zouma will not be able to rediscover his best form in time for the start of the 2016-17 Premier League campaign.
If Terry does depart the club during the summer, it would leave Chelsea short on quality options in the heart of the defence. Gardener claimed the Blues will do everything possible to sign Everton's John Stones, but the in-form Christensen could also be an option.
The 19-year-old is currently on a two-year loan with Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach and has impressed greatly.
Per Metro's Jamie Sanderson, there's no clause in the deal allowing Chelsea to cut the loan short, but they could pay a compensation fee to the German club instead.
Per Gardener, Christensen has made it clear he has no intention of returning to Stamford Bridge if he won't get any playing time: “I am very happy. I will give it my best in the two years here and see what the future has in store for me. It's of no use to return [to Chelsea] if I don't get any playing time there. A lot can happen.”
As reported by Tom Davis of Goal, Monchengladbach have already expressed their desire to sign the Dane on a permanent basis, and convincing the Bundesliga side to cut the loan short could prove tricky.
While Chelsea are unlikely to sell Christensen anytime soon, it's unclear what his immediate future will hold. He may have looked solid in Germany this season, but he remains an inexperienced player who could hardly be expected to replace a club legend like Terry.
He'll need time to adapt to the Premier League and ease his way into the squad, but he seems unwilling to return to Stamford Bridge and wait his turn.
Another season with Monchengladbach could only help his development, but Chelsea would have to look elsewhere for defensive help―which could ruin Christensen's chances of ever breaking into the Blues' starting XI.