Having appeared to secure Didier Drogba on a new three-year deal, Chelsea are increasingly confident that John Terry will be the next major Stamford Bridge figure to pledge his commitment to new manager Carlo Ancelotti. But Manchester City were standing their ground last night and refusing to concede the England captain is lost to them. They have been given no sense whatsoever that Terry is intent on staying put.
Chelsea are expecting Terry to make a public statement about his intentions in the next few days and with a feeling that negotiations for an improved deal might take place when Chelsea return to Britain. But as of last night, the positive messages from Ancelotti and Drogba about Terry had not engendered any pessimism around the City contingent on tour in South Africa, and the current belief in their camp is that the next seven days will be decisive.
The club feel they have received so many signals about Terry's readiness to make the move that there is bafflement that the issue has dragged out so long.
Drogba is the source of more certainty. Speaking in Los Angeles on Chelsea's pre-season tour, Ancelotti indicated that Drogba, consistently linked with moves away from the club, is to agree a new deal, one that would take the 31-year-old past his 34th birthday, and possibly his last as a player. Ancelotti said. "He's irreplaceable, no other striker in the world can do the same job. I've spoken with Drogba and he's happy to stay."
Drogba's lack of restlessness, allied to the promise of teenager Daniel Sturridge – signed from City – mean that Ancelotti should not be forced into the transfer market for a forward. But Ancelotti has less assurance for Andrei Shevchenko. The once great striker looks set to be sold or, failing that, again loaned out.
City's Felipe Caicedo is expected in Lisbon today for discussions about a one-year loan to Sporting Lisbon.