Chelsea plan to open contract talks with captain John Terry in the new year with the defender eager to end his career at Stamford Bridge.
The 32-year-old’s deal expires in 2014 but the Evening Standard understands that both parties are willing to start negotiations.
Chelsea have a new policy of offering players who are older than 30 only a 12-month extension, which is one of the reasons Didier Drogba left last summer as he wanted a two-year agreement.
It has also proved a stumbling block during negotiations with Ashley Cole and the 32-year-old left-back will be able to leave on a free transfer in the summer.
Surprisingly, Chelsea do not appear to be willing to keep Frank Lampard and the 34-year-old England midfielder is also expected to leave at the end of the season when his contract expires.
Significantly, though, Chelsea are keen to start talks with Terry before he enters the last year of his deal, although they are unwilling to increase his £175,000-a-week salary.
Terry remains an influential figure at Stamford Bridge and has consistently stated he wants to see out his career at the club.
Chelsea stood by him when he was charged with racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League game against Queens Park Rangers in October 2011.
Chairman Bruce Buck attended every day of his high profile trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in July, when he was eventually found not guilty.
Chelsea then ignored calls to sack him in September, when the Football Association found him guilty of the racial abuse allegation and banned him for four matches.
While his form has been questioned by some critics, Terry remains Chelsea’s best defender and has been sorely missed since injuring his knee against Liverpool on November 11. A series of minor setbacks has delayed his return but coach Rafael Benitez hopes he will be able to play during the busy Christmas period.
Terry has always been hugely admired by the best managers in the game. Indeed, Fabio Capello quit as England coach in February because the FA stripped Terry of the captaincy amid the racism allegations.
Capello’s replacement, Roy Hodgson, then picked him for Euro 2012 and, significantly, left out Anton’s brother Rio out for “footballing reasons”.
The centre-half has played under 10 different managers since making his debut for Chelsea in 1998 and, six years later, was appointed captain by Jose Mourinho following the Portuguese’s arrival at the club. Mourinho said: “When you say that John was a fantastic captain for me, you are right.”
Terry is convinced he can play at the highest level for some time yet and his decision to quit international football with England, which came before his personal hearing with the FA’s independent panel over the Ferdinand affair, will help him do just that.
He has started taking his coaching badges and has admitted that his ambition is to manage the Blues one day.
Such is his influence, Terry regularly attends youth and reserve games, offering advice to the younger players, as well as leading the first team.
Recently he attended an Under-21 match with Benitez and technical director Michael Emenalo shortly after the Spaniard took over from previous coach Roberto di Matteo.
Terry, who came through the youth ranks at Chelsea before getting his break in the first team, is the most successful captain in the club’s history having won 11 major honours during his tenure.
He was the first Chelsea skipper for 50 years to lift the championship trophy when they won the Premier League in 2005 and was also a key part of the side that claimed the Double for the first time in their history in 2010.
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