The recently concluded Premier League season was a forgettable one for Chelsea for many reasons.
It was their worst campaign since Roman Abramovich bought the club over a decade ago, severe lapses in defence resulted in them conceding goals on a regular basis, Stamford Bridge was no longer a fortress and ultimately, they sacked Jose Mourinho - the best manager in the history of the club.
But more importantly, the lack of confidence and a drastic drop in form culminated to the poor showing all season.
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One area of concern for the Blues has been acquiring a quality left-back, which has been a problematic issue for the club since Ashley Cole left in 2014.
Cesar Azpilicueta is not a natural left-back but developed himself under Mourinho who placed his faith in the Spaniard.
Youth prodigy Ryan Bertrand was tipped to be the successor of Cole but was unable to convince the Portuguese tactician of his credentials while at Stamford Bridge.
DEARTH OF OPPORTUNITIES, LEADING TO EXIT
Full-backs have come and gone from the capital in every season which has now turned into a headache for the hierarchy. Atletico Madrid ace Filipe Luis signed for the Blues in 2014 and Mourinho was confident Luis’ experience at the highest level, playing for both club and country would be beneficial for Chelsea in the long run.
But it was not meant to be, as limited opportunities in the first-team compelled the Brazilian to consider the option of returning to Spain to his former club. Since then he has been sensational for the Rojiblancos, competing for the La Liga title while reaching the Champions League final, triumphing over European heavyweights Bayern Munich and Barcelona along the way.
Chelsea spent £21million for the services of Ghanian youngster Baba Rahman last summer but his lack of experience has cost the former champions on several occasions. Many might say the 21-year-old would get better with time, but the Londoners want him to replicate his Augsburg days and not a repeat of the 2015-16 season.
Bertrand could have easily settled into the first-team being familiar with the conditions and culture which can be evident from the fact that he made his European debut in the Champions League final in Munich in 2013.
The magnitude of the occasion could not get the better of him and his performance for Chelsea garnered accolades from all quarters.
Yet, the appointment of Mourinho saw him again among the fringes, later joining Aston Villa on loan leading to a year-long loan and then a permanent deal with Southampton.
Under Ronald Koeman, the Englishman has been successful in establishing himself, escalating to be one of the best full-backs in the country at present.
The only Saints player to feature in the PFA Team of the Year last term, Bertrand’s market value has significantly increased since his Chelsea days. Southampton parted with £10million, as per Daily Mail, to lure him to St. Mary’s Stadium which has been a value for money buy for the club.
He will be a part of the England squad for Euro 2016 in France – his first major tournament on national team duties. It would be the perfect platform for him to showcase his talent, becoming more proficient as the competition progresses.
At 26-years-old, the defender is at the peak of his potential and made 35 appearances for the English top-flight club this term, assisting five and scoring one in the process.
Averaging 1.3 tackles, 2.3 interceptions and 2.8 clearances per game, Bertrand was among the top full-backs in the 2015-16 season, as reported by WhoScored.com.
Only time will tell if the decision to let Bertrand leave west London is to have critical consequences for Chelsea as the Blues aim to overturn their fortunes under incoming boss Antonio Conte from 2016-17.
Can Ryan Bertrand become England's first choice left-back at Euro 2016? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!