John Terry is looking for a new contract, and Chelsea don’t seem to be in a rush to give him one. So now we’re in the middle of a public negotiation where either party is using the media as a mediator to pass messages back and forth to one another.
It’s all slightly reminiscent of Steven Gerrard and Liverpool just over a year ago, which ultimately led to Gerrard’s exit from the club. It’s a shame when it comes to something like this for players as iconic as Terry and Gerrard.
It’s interesting to chart the careers of players like Terry and Gerrard, from academy products, to humble debutants, to good players, then great players, irreplaceable players, captains, legends, institutions to eventually be club symbols. Now it’s; “Mr Abramovich, John Terry, England’s Brave Lion, is on the phone wondering about a contract extension.” “………ummmmm, tell him I’m not in.”
Roman Abramovich has tried to move Terry on before. He hired AVB with a project in mind of reducing the average squad age, and moving on veterans like Terry, Lampard and Drogba, then again when hiring Rafa Benitez as interim manager, Terry once again found himself out in the cold and people were speculating about his future. It’s like Abromavich has read the hand book, he knows that if a player is over 30 he is probably beyond his peak years and its time to plan ahead, but John Terry keeps being awkward about it and keeps being Chelsea’s best center back.
In some ways, you have to feel for the club, it must be a nightmare situation to deal with when you start trying to plan for the future beyond such a huge character both on the pitch and in the dressing room, a man who has unwavering support from the fans. As much as Chelsea fans love Frank Lampard, or Didier Drogba, their love for John Terry is on a whole new level. He is the embodiment of their club.
Terry has been wondering about his future, and the with the club not returning his calls, Terry has decided to use the ace up his sleeve, which is that unadulterated love the fans have for him, and bring the situation into the public. This way, the fans will know he has no desire to leave, and he is letting the fans know that club is treating a legend in such a disrespectful way.
After the game v United on Sunday, Terry told Geoff Shreeves and anyone watching on Sky Sports, that there is absolutely zero communication between him and the club at the minute. Terry knows that putting it out there will put pressure back onto the club to act. The fans will talk, the media will write, speculation will grow, and a resolution will have to be found.
With the club already looking bad in the eyes of the fans for letting it get to this stage with their Captain, Leader, Legend, they are immediately on the back foot and will probably look to find a positive outcome for all parties, which would probably take the form of a one year extension and the stage will be set for the sequel to play out in a years time.
Last year, it didn’t have quite the happy ending for Steven Gerrard, and he moved on to the MLS, but Gerrard was a player who was clearly declining at a rapid rate, and Liverpool felt it was time to part ways. Terry on the other hand has shown that he is still the best center back at the club, and even if new faces arrive in the summer, he can at the very least still do a job as a squad player for another year, maybe more.
There could be a simple, innocent explanation for all this. Chelsea currently don’t have a manager. Hiddink is only interim. It could be a case that the board want to wait until a new manager is in place before they start renewing people’s contracts, especially those of players in their mid to late 30’s. It could be that if Terry had just been patient, this all could have been resolved without airing any laundry in public, but now we’ll never know.
Terry has occasionally cited the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, and wants to emulate their longevity, but as good as both of those players were, they were never “Mr Man United” the way Terry is “Mr Chelsea”. Terry being on the bench or getting subbed off is still a news story, that wasn’t the case for Giggs and Scholes. You get the impression from Terry that he loves the club and always wants to be a part of it, yet would cause a fuss if he wasn’t starting. That’s the conundrum the club have to face going forward.