Chelsea could be without Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva next season, but the potential loss of Andreas Christensen provides the biggest cause for concern at Stamford Bridge.
The trio, alongside captain Cesar Azpilicueta who is expected to stay, are only under contract until the end of the 2021/22 season.
Therefore, as soon as the coming January, they will be free to discuss terms with other clubs ahead of a move in July of next year.
And while manager Thomas Tuchel will be desperate to keep hold of at least two of the three defenders who helped lift the club’s second Champions League trophy back in May, it is the towering Dane who he should prioritise keeping hold of.
The former Borussia Monchengladbach loanee is believed to be keen to stay in west London but, there has been a two-month standoff between the club and the player’s representatives.
That’s because the Blues board offered Christensen a new contract in August which fell short of his demands to not be among the lower earners at the club.
Why Christensen over Rudiger and Silva?
Christensen is a perfect fit for the most central defender in Tuchel’s back three system, possessing the composure and ball-playing ability to play out of the defence.
He, too, has the speed to play as an outside centre-back as the position often requires pushing out wide to cover the spaces vacated by the wing-backs.
Whereas, Rudiger’s aggressive nature means he is only trusted with either side of the back line and Thiago Silva lacks the pace to play anywhere but the middle of the three.
Hence, Christensen has been an ever-present member of the German manager’s starting XI when injury or suspension haven’t ruled him out of the side.
And, his incredible run of 44 clean sheets in the last 54 games for club and country goes to show that he is currently operating at a world-class level.
It is very hard to be annoyed at Chelsea Football Club right now… but the fact we were willing to offer Jules Koundé £200k per week yet there are issues with Christensen and Rudiger contracts is somewhat baffling to me. These two are better players and already here… Come on!
Add to that, the Denmark international is a product of the Blues academy which has proven to be so successful in recent years, with the likes of Mason Mount and Reece James also breaking into the first-team fold.
And, at 25 years of age, he could yet develop into an even better player as he enters the prime years of his career.
In contrast, Rudiger, 28, and Silva especially, 37, have less years remaining at the top of the game and their transfer values will start to depreciate from the minute they are handed new deals.
Albeit, the German is certainly worth keeping at the club, and on the teamsheet for that matter, but if a difficult decision between the trio is to be made, it should go the way of Christensen.