This was always going to be the big question after Cesare Azpilicueta’s departure. The question of who will be Chelsea’s new captain?
Mauricio Pochettino has been tasked with already a difficult decision in his first month at Stamford Bridge. The fact that the Blues are going through a mass clearout hasn’t made things easy for the Argentine manager.
With only four players remaining from the entire winning squad of Chelsea’s 2021/22 Champions League campaign, options are slim at the Bridge. Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Kepa Arrizabalaga are the only players remaining from that UCL winning season.
The new owners have added a whole bunch of new recruits of which, the majority are still in the early stages of their careers. Pochettino is yet to officially announce his new captain, but these look like the favourites to wear the armband for Chelsea next season.
The obvious choice. Reece James is the clear favourite as things stand to be Chelsea’s new captain, at least from the fans’ perspective.
He is a Chelsea Academy graduate and is a Blue through and through who has been at the club since the age of six. James has already worn the armband a couple of times during his Chelsea time and it’ll be no surprise should Pochettino announce him permanently as the Blues’ next captain.
Next up is Chelsea’s record signing. Enzo Fernandez arrived at Stamford Bridge in January 2023 and immediately made the midfield spot his own.
To put some light on his importance to the Chelsea lineup, the young Argentinian started all of Chelsea’s games since he has joined and has only not completed 90 minutes on three occasions during that time.
Enzo has also shown that he is a fighter on the pitch and has displayed captaincy traits, and his fellow Argentinian, Pochettino might have surely noticed this. Like James, he is still young and will fill up the captaincy role at least for the next decade at Stamford Bridge.
The stop-gap solution. There’s no denying that Thiago Silva is at the twilight of his career. The Brazilian defender will be 40 this year and might not be a regular starter for Chelsea this season.
John Terry has clearly stated that Pochettino needs to appoint his new captain only if he starts week in, week out. Silva certainly does not have the physical capacity to do that anymore and that is no secret.
He could still be announced as the new captain in the view that he can mentor potential candidates like James and Enzo for the role before he leaves Chelsea.
The unlikeliest option. Ben Chilwell arrived at Chelsea in 2020 under Frank Lampard’s first spell.
He has proved to be a shrewd signing, even though his game time has been restricted due to injuries. Chilwell has been at the club long enough to understand its values and has already impressed Pochettino in training.
The latter point is crucial as the Argentine manager likes to make decisions on merit. And if things are to go by according to what the former Spurs boss has seen in training, there is a clear favourite.
This won’t be that straightforward though, considering the others on the list are better equipped than Chilwell for the captaincy role.