Chelsea's predicted XI for the Premier League next season

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Chelsea summer signings to date - Cesc Fabregas for an undisclosed transfer fee. 

Chelsea's sold and released players for the summer so far - Ashley Cole - released, Frank Lampard - released, Henrique Hilario - released, Samuel Eto'o - released, Sam Hutchinson - released, David Luiz sold to Paris Saint-Germain for a reported transfer fee of £50 million.

Chelsea's expected summer transfer signings/rumoured transfer signings - Diego Costa for a reported transfer fee of £32 million, Filipe Luis, Tiago, Luka Modric, Sami Khedira, Mario Mandzukic.

Predicted line-up

Below is Chelsea's probable starting line-up for their opening fixture of the 2014/15 campaign away at Burnley:

Goalkeeper - Thibaut Courtois

Left Back - Cesar Azpilicueta

Centre Back - John Terry

Centre Back - Gary Cahill

Right Back - Branislav Ivanovic

Central Midfield - Nemanja Matic

Central Midfield - Cesc Fabregas

Left Attacking Midfield - Oscar/Schurrle

Central Attacking Midfield - Eden Hazard

Right Attacking Midfield - Willian/Ramires

Centre Forward - Diego Costa

Chelsea fans, does this team excite you?

Thibaut Courtois is set to return, fresh from his La Liga title victory with Atletico Madrid. Jose Mourinho has already stated that Courtois will be around the first team squad. This throws in to doubt the future of Petr Cech.

Mourinho has previous when it comes to dropping veteran keepers. When he first took over he made a bold and ruthless decision to drop Carlo Cudicini and replace him with Cech. Cudicini was an excellent shot stopper and saved countless penalties for the Blues. He was rated as one of the best keepers in the Premier League.

Cech though, has gone on to be one of the best in the world. Winning his third Golden Glove award this year, a record-equaling achievement. He is an outstanding shot stopper and has contributed significantly to the past decade of unprecedented Chelsea success.

Mark Schwarzer has signed a one-year contract extension with Chelsea, and deservedly so. He is expected to be deputy to Courtois, which could and probably will see Cech being sold. He will be a sad loss to Chelsea but surely Europe's elite will be after his services. 


Chelsea's defensive record last year was the best in the Premier League and one of the best in Europe. Which is why the line-up is likely to be the same. Why change a winning formula?

The exit of Ashley Cole though, is premature. He barely played last year because of the brilliant form of Azpilicueta. However when Cole did come in, he performed superbly.

The England veteran is still one of the best left back's in the world game. His trademark blocks and one on one defence sets him apart from the modern day, attacking full back. He may have lost a yard or two of pace but he could still have played as Chelsea's first choice let alone their second choice full back. Real Madrid and Liverpool are set to be interested in signing the veteran which proves that people believe he still has quality at the highest level.

Filipe Luis is expected to be Cole's replacement. Although a late bid for Luke Shaw was also tabled, all-be-it unsuccessfully. Luis performed well for Atletico in a stand out season for them. But Cole will leave a big hole in the Chelsea squad. Not only for his outstanding defensive ability but also for his invaluable experience.

David Luiz has been sold; a wise decision.To have recouped the transfer fee they spent on the Brazilian and made a hefty profit, it is excellent business. Luiz was a favourite amongst Chelsea fans because of his enthusiastic and charismatic playing style, but he will not be missed. Unreliable and temperamental, he always had a mistake in him, which at this level is not good enough.

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- Mark Schwarzer contract raises doubts about Cech and Courtois future

In midfield Eden Hazard has been given the coveted number ten shirt. He wants to be the main, central, attacking figure and rightly so. He topped the Chelsea scoring charts last season with seventeen goals. A hugely influential player, he beats the opposition for fun and creates or scores goals on a regular basis. Chelsea must keep hold of him if they are to challenge for silver ware in the coming campaign. 

Elsewhere Oscar, Schurrle and Willian will have to be more consistent. All very good players on their day. Too often last season against the lesser sides, one or more of them would go missing, costing Chelsea points and inevitably the league title. 

Cesc Fabregas has been signed as what seems to be a direct replacement for the outgoing Frank Lampard. Lampard is one of only seven players and the only midfielder to score 150 goals in the Premier League. He finished on a tally of 211 goals for Chelsea. The best goal-scoring midfielder in the history of the game. 

His ability to pop up in the right place at the right time and score a crucial goal or make an invaluable assist was what set him apart from his contemporaries. There is no doubt his ability to go from box to box was on the wain but his experience in the big matches meant he could still have played a part for Chelsea. He also could have helped youngsters develop their game. Another premature exit. 

Fabregas undoubtedly has quality. He has finished as the player with the highest number of assists in La Liga for the past two seasons but he does not score the goals that Frank Lampard has done for Chelsea. 

Fellow Spaniard, Juan Mata, although was not sold this summer. He was sold for £37.1 million to rivals Manchester United in January. Mourinho claimed he did not work hard enough or fulfil his defensive duties. 

Mata was Chelsea's player of the season for the two years he spent at the club. Topping both the assists and goals charts for Chelsea. A superb player with an unrivalled first touch, he scored and assisted at will. 

He and Fabregas often sit on the bench for their national side, Spain. But is Fabregas better than Mata? The statistics for previous seasons say no. Mata scores more goals and is more likely to create something from nothing. Surely Mata could have been accommodated in the Chelsea team? The financial fair play rules though undoubtedly played a part in his sale.

The most urgent objective

The signing of a world class striker is Mourinho's most urgent objective. Chelsea had the best defence in England last year and that nearly won them the title. However between Samuel Eto'o, Demba Ba and Fernando Torres, Chelsea's top three strikers, they did not score enough goals to win games.

Eto'o has been released subsequently; the experienced front man simply has not got the quality he once had. Torres and Ba are also likely to be leaving in the near future, with Ba seeking first team opportunities. 

Diego Costa has long been courted by Chelsea and before the World Cup, it was said that Chelsea had agreed a fee of £32 million to sign the Atletico man and that only personal terms had to be settled upon.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will not want to spend a huge sum of money on a player who does not perform, like he did with Torres. Mourinho equally will want to make sure he has the right man, the man that can be ruthless and efficient in front of goal.

A new era

This season will bring a new era. The past decade of success built around a core of Cech, Terry, Cole, Lampard and Didier Drogba has passed. It is sad for Chelsea fans but to be successful again, an overhaul was needed.

More signings will take place between now and the beginning of the season you can be sure of that. Mourinho will have to spend wisely when pursuing what he thinks will bring success but also taking in to consideration the financial fair play rules.

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