John Terry is preparing for a move to the United States, the Middle East or China, despite Chelsea’s insistence that the “channels of dialogue [are] open” on his future.
The Chelsea captain went public on Sunday night about not being offered a new deal at Stamford Bridge, forcing Chelsea to issue a statement that, while nothing was currently on offer, “the situation could change”. Terry, though, does not expect such a development. He is now considering his next step at the end of the season.
The defender confirmed on Sunday that he “could not play for another Premier League club” when he leaves Chelsea. He is very unlikely to stay in Europe, having decided to move next season into one of football’s emerging markets. The likeliest destinations are Major League Soccer, where his contemporaries Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole all now play, or further afield in the Middle East or in China.
Those leagues would guarantee more in salary and in contract security than Terry might make elsewhere. Barcelona legend Xavi signed a three-year deal with Al Sadd in Qatar last year, earning an annual tax-free salary of €10m (£7.5m). Similarly, Ramires, Terry’s former Chelsea team-mate, joined Chinese club Jiangsu Suning last week for £25m and is now earning in the region of £10m net each year, although Terry could hope to earn far more even than that.
Chelsea are in the fifth round of the FA Cup and the last 16 of the Champions League, giving Terry the possibility of ending his career at the club with a 17th major trophy. While Chelsea’s public position suggests that they may be persuaded to offer the 35-year-old a contract extension, Terry might wonder what the club could expect to learn about him in the final few months of his 16th season in their first team. He believes the matter to be closed.
The departure of Terry will deprive Chelsea of a whole generation of experience, forcing them to find adequate replacements at centre-back and as captain. The club have already signed Matt Miazga, the 20-year-old US international, although he is thought to be more of a long-term project than an immediate first-teamer.
Terry’s impending exit should help to assure Gary Cahill’s future at the club. The England international is frustrated by his lack of playing time recently, having started just one of the seven Premier League games since Jose Mourinho’s dismissal in December.
Cahill signed a new long-term deal at Stamford Bridge that month and while he wants to stay, he said that he cannot be happy unless he is playing regularly. “I want to be at the club, I signed a four-year contract recently,” Cahill said. “That shows I want to be here, I am settled here, have had success here and my family is settled here. But ultimately I feel I need to play football matches. I have always been that way.”
Cahill has spoken to interim manager Guus Hiddink but he will now be staying at Chelsea until the end of this season, leading up to Euro 2016. From next season onwards, though, he wants to play more. “It is very important for me personally, even selfishly, to be playing football matches,” he said. “You will never change me. It is a positive thing. You get people criticising those who are happy to sit on the bench picking up money. That’s certainly not me. I want to be out there and being a big part of things if I possibly can, realising that everyone else is playing well as well.”