They are Chelsea legends. Legends who have been with the club throughout the most successful spell in its 108-year history. 

Players such as Frank Lampard, John Terry, Ashley Cole and Petr Cech have been the backbone of the team during the Roman Abramovich era. 

No Chelsea supporter will ever be able to thank them enough for their effort and contribution to the club's cause. But all good things must come to an end - and the end for this group of players should be just round the corner.

Abramovich and the club want change. The Russian has made no secret of his desire to see Chelsea play in a fluid, elegant manner, much in the style of Spanish giants Barcelona. With the purchase of stars like Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, Chelsea have started to play in a much different way to last season's Champions League triumph, in which the Blues endured and suffered, before seemingly defending their way to the title. 

Although this new style hasn't brought the wanted results as of yet, it is a signal of intent and it is the younger acquisitions who are more adept than the old heads when it comes to playing in such a way.

The recent FA Cup match against Manchester United indicated that the old guard are on the wane. With Lampard, Cole and Cech in the side, the Blues were 2-0 down at half-time, with the Czech goalkeeper being questioned in the build-up to both goals. Lampard was hauled off early in the second-half, replaced by 25-year-old John Obi Mikel in midfield. 

Rafael Benitez also brought on the Belgian Eden Hazard, one of the sides youngest players at 21-years-old. These two were both pivotal in Chelsea's comeback, with Hazard netting their first goal with a wonderful strike. 

Taking Lampard off gave Chelsea an extra lease of life.

Many are calling for Frank Jr to be given a new contract after continuing to score goals for his team this season. His overall performances, however, have not been so impressive. He has never had much physical speed, relying on his quick mind to control games. Unfortunately, age has caught up with him. He seems much more sluggish on the ball and has even been guilty of slowing Chelsea's play down. 

Cole has had a similar change in fortunes. Regarded for a long time as the world's best left-back, errors have started creeping into his game, and he is not as reliable as he once was. Terry has spent much of the season on the treatment table, and Cech hasn't been his old self for quite some time. These players are getting into the team on reputation alone instead of others who are capable of doing as good a job.

That is the most worrying problem with holding on to these players: they are preventing youngsters from getting a real shot at a first-team place. That is an old problem at the Bridge. Terry is the only player to come through the Chelsea academy to get any real game time since the turn of the millennium. 

It's not as though the youngsters don't have the quality - they have won the FA Youth Cup in two of the last four years and are through to the semi-finals once again this time round. Yet in the last decade, this hasn't been much of a problem because the club was winning more than enough trophies.

Now, however, with so many underwhelming results, Chelsea are in need of revamp. As long as Terry and co remain, it is never going to happen.

It is also worth questioning the said players' involvement in the managerial merry-go-round in south-west London. Carlo Ancelotti, André Villas Boas, Luis Felipe Scolari and Roberto Di Matteo are not poor managers - and it would be a hell of a coincidence if they all failed to produce the consistent goods that the owner of the European champions demands. 

Yet none of them have lasted more than two seasons in the hot-seat, with all of the latter three lasting less than 12 months. During each of their reigns, the press reported that certain players conflicted with their boss, which included the older heads in the side. Even with their experience, they have sometimes brought a corrosive atmosphere to the Stamford Bridge dressing room.

No-one is doubting how important these players have been to Chelsea's success. If it wasn't for them, they probably wouldn't have won half of the trophies they have clinched. But you can't hold on to past glories forever. Sometimes, you just have to move on. 

That time has come for Chelsea Football Club.


DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia.The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: