May 16, 2017

Should Chelsea Replace Cahill?  (Sky Sports)

Gary CahillHow do you improve a title-winning side? That was the question put to Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville as champions Chelsea beat Watford 4-3 on Monday Night Football.

Antonio Conte's side will lift the trophy after their final match of the season against Sunderland on Sunday but attention has already turned to the summer transfer window.

Carragher, speaking on Monday Night Football, thinks Chelsea could bring in a new centre-back to play on the left side of their back three.

That would provide competition for Gary Cahill, who has captained the team for most of the season in the absence of John Terry.

"I still think there could be a centre-back that goes into that back three," the former Liverpool defender said. "I think in Cahill's position, even though he's the captain and has had a great season.

"We spoke maybe 12 months ago about 3-5-2, talking about having specialists. The one position where you feel, as a centre-back, a little bit awkward is a right-footed player playing on the left of a back three.

"You always get pushed onto your left foot. It's different to playing left-back because there you can actually go as wide as you can to the touchline because you are always coming inside on your right foot.

"When you are a centre-back you are more tucked in, maybe 10 yards off the touchline. You have seen teams at times, and they haven't really exposed it, but they always let the ball go to Cahill on that side because it's on his weak foot.

"It's not that he's poor on the ball, he'd probably prefer to play on the right side but Cesar Azpilicueta is there."

He added: "They've got Nathan Ake with that left foot, who played against Watford, but that maybe someone they look to improve upon. You look at that Juventus back three and could they get a Giorgio Chiellini?

"Conte's obviously got a relationship with him from their time at Juventus and that's maybe the calibre of player they need to take that step towards winning the Champions League."

Neville challenged Carragher's point, insisting there are always risks with bringing new players to the Premier League.

"You might find a better individual left-sided centre-back than Cahill but then you think to yourself he's English, he knows the league, he's won Premier League titles and he knows the club," the former Manchester United defender said.

"You consider the balance then between bringing in someone who doesn't know the club, has come from a foreign country and then having to settle in.

"You wonder if he is going to settle into the league, the club and is his family going to settle too?

"There are all those things that you have to think about. I agree you could bring in a potentially better individual player but other considerations come into play."

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