This season has been a tough one for Ashley Cole so far as He has been unable to establish himself in the Jose Mourinho’s IX on a regular basis and with Cesar Azipilicueta performing well in the left fullback role the first team opportunities have been limited for the England international.
Nobody can deny the fact that Cole has been one of our most consistent performers for the last eight seasons and he is one of the main reasons behind the silverwares that Chelsea has won in the last eight years.
The Chelsea left back has been indispensible for both club and country , be it attacking, be it tracking back or be it one on one situations Cole has always been spot on and He has hardly underperformed. Last year Mourinho praised him as a great professional and he has backed him despite of being in and out of the team.
It may hurt many Chelsea faithful but the truth is that we need a perfect replacement for Cole sooner rather than later. Cole ,33, is not the same as he was earlier on and it is clearly evident that there is a dip in his form this season so at this moment of time Chelsea need to be more pragmatic and take a stand to decide that who can be a perfect replacement for the England international and who is capable enough to emulate the legendary Cole.
1. Ryan Bertrand
Bertrand is one of the finest players to emerge from the Chelsea academy in recent times, Ryan Bertrand has been tipped as the eventual successor to Ashley Cole since a long time. He was given sporadic opportunities by AVB but He was thrust into spotlight when he made his Champions League debut in the final against Bayern in 2012.
Bertrand is a quick player who is comfortable on the ball, He has the ability to support attack by his good crossing ability and He is a reliable defender. But his positioning has often been put into question as he is very quick at times and is likely to give away free kicks that have made him a liability in many situations.
Overall Bertrand is a pacy and technical attacking left back. The Chelsea academy graduate is presently on loan at Aston Villa and he has already served loan spells at Bournemouth, Reading, Oldham Athletic, Norwich City, Nottingham Forrest and he may well be considered by Mourinho for Chelsea’s future.
2. Patrick Van Aanholt
Patrick Van Aanholt has been one of the most developing players to come up from the ranks of Chelsea academy and has been considered as a great future prospect.
The Dutch fullback has been at loan to Coventry City, Newcastle United, Leicester City, Wigan Athletic in the past few years and He is presently at Vitesse on loan where He has been performing very well. Maybe it is just the matter of how long the calls for the first team can be resisted.
Van Aanholt has shown some good display of his ability on the loan spell with four goals and two assists in 17 appearances for Vitesse Arnhem.
He seems to be sounder in terms of defending as when compared with Bertrand but his lack of experience of not playing at top level may prove to be crucial for the Blues.
3. Luke Shaw
Luke Shaw has been long been linked with a move to Chelsea. He grew up as a Chelsea supporter, and has claimed that he originally wanted to play for the London club. As an eight-year-old Shaw played at Chelsea’s development centre in Guildford but was not offered an academy place.
The 18-year-old has been an integral part of the Southampton team and He has been reportedly linked with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal.
Shaw is one of the most complete young fullbacks in England at present, the Saint’s academy graduate has a balance of both defense and attack in his game and considering the fact that He is a Chelsea fan, it may be a good chance for the blues to bring him to Stamford Bridge. Moreover Luke Shaw has shown maturity in his game at a very young age and He is surely having the ability to fit into Cole’s shoes.