Friday 23 March 2018 / 11:56 PM

Time to rebuild Bridge that José built

So, Chelsea can’t win anything this year.

Out of the Champions League, out of the FA Cup, and so far behind in the league that a victory is close to being a mathematical impossibility.

All this, after their league win last year.

With Mourinho gone, and Hiddink due to finish his second caretaker spell in May, it’s now time for Chelsea to start planning for the future.

In truth, they’ve had one hell of a decade since that first Premier League win in 2005. They’ve won the league four times, won the Champions League once, the Europa League once and the FA Cup three times. They’ve had incredible players at the Bridge, from Didier Drogba to Arjen Robben.

But that all seems to be over now.

Their ‘Special One’ has been and gone for the second time now, unlikely to return.

The spine of the team has gone; with Petr Cech, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba all moving on for pastures new, and John Terry set to follow them, things have changed, the party’s over.

And now that things are different, it’s time for a rebuild.

The Jose Mourinho blueprint has been indelibly printed on this Chelsea side for a long time now.

But with him gone, as well as his trusted senior players, it’s time for a rethink. A rebuild.

And whatever form or shape that rebuild takes, what’s clear is that it’ll require some money.

Whilst it’s not true to suggest that this Blues side is an old one, what is true is that it needs a freshen up.

In Thibault Courtois, Gary Cahill, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa, it would appear that they have a good enough ‘spine’ to be able to built a new team on; a closer inspection suggests that may not be the case.

The noises coming out of the Bridge about Costa’s chances of staying appear negative, meaning that a new striker will definitely be required.

Similarly, it seems almost certain that Eden Hazard will move on this summer – another blockbuster player who must be replaced.

Replacing players of their quality – no matter the funds available – will be a significant challenge, and Roman Abramovich (if he has the stomach for another assault on English and European football) must be prepared to open his chequebook in a big way.

And that’s before we get to the manager. Guus Hiddink is almost certain not to make his temporary deal permanent, and with no other massively high profile managers available, it seems likely that Chelsea will bring in Antonio Conte to fill the void left by the Dutchman.

Conte – whilst clearly a talented manager – has never managed in the Premier League before, and will be tasked with restoring Chelsea’s former glory, whilst bedding in a number of new faces, and all I can say to him is good luck.

Chelsea’s time at the top table is over for now. They may be back as early as next season, but only time will tell.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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