Carlo Ancelotti will say this morning that he does not want John Terry to leave Chelsea as the pressure increases on the club captain to declare that he has no interest in a move to Manchester City, despite their astronomical pay offer in excess of £150,000 a week.
The new Chelsea manager will be presented to the media this morning at Stamford Bridge although he is not due to meet Terry until Thursday when the England captain reports back for the start of pre-season training. Yesterday Terry was due back in England from a golfing holiday in Tenerife and may pop into the training ground to see his new manager before the scheduled return on Thursday.
City have offered £30m for Terry already – an offer that was robustly rejected by Chelsea on Thursday night – and they are ready to come back with more as long as Terry does not publicly state that he wants to stay at Chelsea. Chelsea's stance is that the 28-year-old, currently on £135,000 a week and contracted to the club until 2012, is not for sale at any price but even so Terry's reaction is critical.
If he wants to leave it will be a brutal departure from the club that he has played at since the age of 12. Chelsea will make it quite clear to him that despite his "Mr Chelsea" image he will have to admit to the fans that it is his decision to leave.
Alternatively, Terry could use the interest from City to secure a better deal for himself at Chelsea but there is no certainty that Roman Abramovich will acquiesce to his demands.
Speaking to The Independent on Saturday, the Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech – a friend of Terry – said that he could not see his team-mate leaving.
But he also conceded that anything was possible in football. "It would be hard to imagine but sometimes in life people want to have new challenges and new adventures," Cech said.
"Anything can happen but JT is really blue through and through and he has been all his life. If you say 'Chelsea' to a lot of people, they say 'John Terry'. This is one of the reasons why I wouldn't expect it to happen.
"You have to stay when it is right and if you leave you should leave at the right time. It's always hard to say that the best option is to stay 20 years with one team. Maybe not. It depends on which team you play for. Sometimes the change comes but it should come at the right moment." It would be difficult to make a case for it being the right moment for Terry to leave Chelsea when City have not qualified this season for the Champions League or the Europa League – the revamped version of the Uefa Cup. It would mean that the England captain was not playing in the two big European competitions in a World Cup year.
Joleon Lescott would be a potential replacement should Terry want to leave. The Everton defender is a contender for the World Cup squad and effectively Terry's back-up in the team.