According to the Daily Express, Jose Mourinho has identified playmaker extraordinaire Cesc Fabregas to assume Chelsea captaincy duties as soon as John Terry departs Stamford Bridge.
The Special One said:
“He’s a fantastic guy, he’s a fantastic professional. Now I understand why at the age of 19 or 20 or 21 he was Arsenal captain.”
This revelation certainly lends appeal to the Spaniard at 2/1 to be anointed as armband holder once Terry abdicates.
Centre-back Gary Cahill heads the betting at evens, but Mourinho’s accompanying lines to this quote make digging deeper into the field a worthwhile exercise.
“When I am the manager at Chelsea the armband will go to another arm that has been in this club for many, many years.”
Fabregas doesn’t have many months under his Blues belt yet, let alone full revolutions around the sun.
England international Cahill may be a bit longer in the tooth in west London, but a candidate attributed with much beefier odds dwarfs the ex-Bolton stopper’s two-and-a-half-year stint.
Branislav Ivanovic is the man in question, a veteran of 279 appearances in a Chelsea shirt.
At 20/1, he’s a longer punt than inexplicable contenders Eden Hazard and Oscar (both 12/1) and Diego Costa at 10’s, despite being unquestionably more qualified.
With 73 Serbia caps to his name, Ivanovic has got his mitts on almost every piece of silverware there is to win at club level.
Few are as experienced as the 30-year-old.
His age is probably what puts him so far back in the betting, but if Terry were to vacate his post this summer, which is by no means out of the question, there is no one on their books better placed to take the reigns.
If the current skipper sticks around for a season or two, though, then the value of 66/1 shot Nemanja Matic will skyrocket.
The towering Serb is into his second spell at the Bridge so has the years on the clock that Mourinho craves, while he grows in importance to the team by the week in his holding-midfield role.