The end of Chelsea's sorry 2015-2016 season will bring the curtains down on the illustrious career of John Terry at Stamford Bridge after a 21-year association with the club.
Winning every possible trophy at club level, the former England international’s quality is unique and he can still perform against world-class opposition.
Incoming boss Antonio Conte has a tough job in hand to find the ideal candidate to succeed the club veteran.
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Here are five defenders who could replace him:
5. John Stones (Everton)
The Englishman has been a long-standing transfer target for the Blues and they have had three successive bids turned down by Everton.
Roberto Martinez insisted on holding onto the young prodigy, but now he has been sacked, Everton could be tempted to cash in on Stones if Chelsea come calling again.
A home-grown player with terrific potential for future, Stones can be the answer to the defensive issues in west London.
On the back of a disastrous campaign, the 21-year-old’s valuation could drop significantly, which would benefit Chelsea.
4. Niklas Sule (Hoffenhiem)
The German youngster is one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga and has put in some commendable performances in recent years.
A physically strong and tactically-sound centre-half, Sule has been deemed a bright prospect for club and country. At 20 years old, Sule is bound to develop further and moving to Chelsea could be the big-money move that would bring him into the limelight.
He averages over 6 clearances per game.
3. Serge Aurier (Paris Saint-Germain)
The Ivorian defender generally operates as a full-back although he has previously deputised as a centre-back for PSG.
The Parisians could decide to part company with the 23-year-old after Aurier publicly ridiculed his teammates and manager Laurent Blanc, resulting in a suspension in February.
However, the quality of the former Toulouse star cannot be underestimated as he can be exceptional.
Featuring in 32 games for the Ligue 1 champions, Aurier has scored four goals and assisted three in 2015-16.
2. Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain)
The Brazilian defender was hailed as the next big thing when he secured a €31million move from Roma in 2013, but despite making over 100 appearances for the club, Marquinhos now plays second-fiddle to compatriots Thiago Silva and David Luiz.
Chelsea have been in pursuit for some time, but if he decides to leave Parc des Princes this summer, they will have to compete with the likes of Barcelona among others who are interested in signing him, as reported by Evening Standard.
The Londoners made a late enquiry for the 21-year-old on transfer deadline day last year, but with the South American seeking more first-team action, the start of next season could well see him arrive at the former English champions.
1. Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao)
The Frenchman has been one of La Liga's outstanding performers over the last few years, thus attracting interest from several heavyweight clubs across Europe.
Manchester City are said to be monitoring his situation and could place a formal bid in the coming weeks according to Sky Sports.
A robust tackler, Laporte has all the makings of a world-class centre-half.
Athletic Bilbao value Laporte highly and they acted swiftly to offer him a new deal in June 2015 that included a release clause of €50million.
He would definitely be a coup for the Blues.
Who should Chelsea sign this summer? Have your say in the comments.
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