The Blues need a new skipper this summer with Cesar Azpilicueta set to join Atletico Madrid after 11 years at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino will soon need to appoint a new captain with Cesar Azpilicueta close to joining Atletico Madrid.

The Blues will allow Azpilicueta to walk away on a free transfer despite him still having a further year on his contract.

The exit will come after 11 years of service where he established himself as a Chelsea legend, captaining the club for the final four years.

Pochettino called for “leaders and not followers“ to emerge in his first official interview as manager on Monday.

Here, Standard Sport’s Nizaar Kinsella assesses Pochettino’s options to take over the Chelsea captaincy.

Thiago Silva

The 38-year-old is a champion known as much for his leadership qualities as anything else. He has worn the armband for both Chelsea and Brazil and was part of the Champions League win in 2021. The only problem is that he doesn’t speak fluent English.

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Amid the exits of Jorginho, Mason Mount, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic, Kepa is one of the longest-serving players left at Chelsea. Frank Lampard offered his calm, professional no1 the armband for the first time late last season.

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Raheem Sterling

Sterling is the only player in Chelsea’s current squad to have had a crucial role in winning a Premier League title. The 28-year-old was a marquee signing last summer and his success with Manchester City means he is the most decorated player in the squad.

Reece James

No one understands Chelsea more than Reece James. The 23-year-old has been with the club since he was six years old and they are increasingly keen to see him take a bigger leadership role. He is, however, famously a reserved character.

Ben Chilwell

Chilwell has been part of major title wins with both Leicester and Chelsea. The 26-year-old committed to a two-year contract extension during a difficult season, highlighting his commitment to the cause. The England international is open, friendly and engaging, just like Azpilicueta.

Enzo Fernandez

The club-record signing is unlikely to become a contender this time around, but Lampard saw leadership traits in him while caretaker manager.