Ryan Bertrand should be allowed to leave Chelsea this summer

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Ryan Bertrand has had somewhat of a mixed experience during his senior career at Chelsea to date. 

Having joined the Blues from Gillingham back in 2005, the 24-year-old defender has often found it extremely difficult to break into the first-team setup at Stamford Bridge - largely due to the stellar and incredibly consistent form routinely displayed by compatriot and mentor Ashley Cole.

A variety of loan spells throughout the Football League ensued, with Bertrand proving his considerable potential during successful stints with the likes of Norwich, Reading and Nottingham Forest.

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Brief success

However, despite being sent to other clubs with a slightly alarmingly degree of regularity, Betrand - who spent the second half of last season with Aston Villa - has tasted success with Chelsea.

He was, lest we forget, chosen by former manager Roberto di Matteo to start the club's memorable Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in 2012.

While he was eventually substituted with 17 minutes of normal time remaining, such a display clearly proved that Bertrand - who has also won two senior international caps for England - is capable of doing an adequate job at the highest level. 

Lack of opportunity

Despite Cole's departure following eight hugely-successful years in West London, if recent transfer speculation is to be believed, then it would appear that Bertrand is still not set to be considered as a viable starter under Jose Mourinho.

While Chelsea have been linked with several full-backs during the last few weeks, the rumours concerning a potential deal for Filipe Luis - the eye-catching Brazilian who was a key component of the Atletico Madrid side that pipped Barcelona to the La Liga title and also progressed to the final of the Champions League - appear the most persistent.

If Mourinho does indeed seek to plug the inevitable void left by Cole's absence by signing Luis or indeed even a rival left-back of similar ability and stature, then I believe that Bertrand should finally be sold and allowed to revive his stuttering career elsewhere.

Indeed, a distinct lack of first-team opportunities since that aforementioned European success would surely mean his departure is unlikely to be mourned for any significant portion of time by the club's fans and, perhaps most crucially, Spanish international right-back Cesar Azpilicueta's versatility is such that he would easily be able to provide sufficient cover for any expensive new arrival as well as contending with Branislav Ivanovic for a starting berth on his favoured side.

Liverpool interest

Given Liverpool's reported interest in signing £7 million-rated Bertrand, it is certainly understandable that many passionate Chelsea supporters may be reluctant to see the club complicit in the strengthening of a direct domestic rival.

However, while Liverpool's defensive frailties were obvious for all to see during the final stages of a thrilling 2013/14 campaign, would the addition of a reasonably solid if somewhat unspectacular left-back really prove the pivotal difference between success and failure in the title race? I severely doubt it.

Indeed, I would suggest that respective deals for Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa - two hugely significant and promising captures for Chelsea - are far more impressive and suggest that it is they who are the most likely to prove the biggest and the most dangerous threat to Manchester City's hopes of retaining their top-flight crown.

Selling to a rival with similar aspirations is never ideal of course, but Mourinho would not be taking too many risks by allowing Bertrand to move to Anfield - especially if such a loss was offset with the signing of the consistently excellent Luis.

Given Bertrand's experience of working with Brendan Rodgers and the unfortunately persistent injury problems suffered by Luis Enrique, such a switch could be an amicable and satisfying outcome for all parties.

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Ryan Bertrand
Premier League

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