By Amitai Winehouse For Mailonline
Published: 09:33 GMT, 9 November 2019 | Updated: 09:33 GMT, 9 November 2019
Having been a leading man at Chelsea for the best part of a decade, Gary Cahill spent most of last season as little more than a background character.
Maurizio Sarri called time on stint at Stamford Bridge early on and across eight appearances in all competitions there was never much to suggest he was going to change the Italian's mind.
On Saturday, though, Cahill returns to his old stomping ground with Crystal Palace having firmly proven that he still has the talent and physicality to cut it in the Premier League.
Gary Cahill left Chelsea in the summer having won nearly every trophy available to him
He barely featured under Maurizio Sarri (left) last season, making just eight appearances
The defender was snapped up by Crystal Palace and he has impressed in his time there
Cahill had won everything available to a Premier League player before Sarri came into Chelsea, including the Champions League in his first season and the title twice.
Under Antonio Conte, he formed an impressive part of a back three but when the now-Juventus manager decided to go with a four-man defence, he did not seem to fit in.
That meant rare opportunities to play for a club where he had established himself as a relative favourite over the years. Chelsea let him leave for free at the end of the campaign — there was little to suggest he would ever renew his contract — and Palace decided to snap him up.
Cahill posing with the Europa League winners' medal that he picked up last campaign
He also won the Champions League with Chelsea during his first season at the club
It could have been considered a risk to sign a 33-year-old defender who had essentially spent a year on the sidelines.