Marginalised by Rafael Benitez, Chelsea captain John Terry may move abroad as early as this summer

Terry may look to Turkey after fading from the picture at Stamford Bridge

The nature of John Terry’s relationship with Chelsea was once very simple: when he was fit he played and even when he was not fit, a lot of the time, he played too. A divisive figure away from Stamford Bridge, the club’s training ground at Cobham was his domain. He survived and thrived in the years that saw Chelsea’s transformation from Premier League elite wannabes to European champions.

Now, the feeling is very different for one of the most controversial figures in recent English football history. The question is where does he go next, and will it even be this summer, a year before the end of his current contract?

It remains an extraordinary part of another extraordinary season at the club that – amid all the wailing over Rafa Benitez’s appointment and the refusal of the club to renew Frank Lampard’s deal – there has been so little focus on Terry. His two goals against Fulham at Craven Cottage in the 3-0 win on Wednesday night were a further reminder that the Terry issue has still not been addressed.

This time last year he was hurtling into the summer uncertain whether he would be part of Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad and facing court on racial abuse charges. The anniversary of his sending-off at the Nou Camp is on Wednesday. This is not a man accustomed to being out of focus at the back of the shot. Yet ever since Jose Bosingwa blocked him out of the front row at the moment of Chelsea’s trophy lift in Munich last May, Terry has been fading from the picture at his club.

A new contract has been forthcoming for Ashley Cole, but not for Terry. His closeness to Roman Abramovich appears to have been overstated for years. The re-appointment of Jose Mourinho could yet see Lampard remain at the club, although there are no such certainties for the club captain.

Terry’s options? The big two in Turkey, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, are both understood to be interested. While the Süper Lig has always attracted big names at the end of their careers, the acquisition of Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder by Galatasaray, and their progress to the last eight of the Champions League, has given them greater credibility in the eyes of players. Fenerbahce, like Chelsea, are in the last four of the Europa League and have the likes of Dirk Kuyt and Raul Meireles.

Turkey’s big two could also pay Terry the money that he has been accustomed to earning since signing that £150,000-a-week, five-year deal in 2009 when the interest in him from Manchester City was usefully public. By today’s Premier League standards it is much less than the more recent big earners. As a one-club man thus far, Terry may well feel, unlikely as it may sound, he has not realised his full earning potential in the way others have.

His two goals against Fulham will mean nothing to Benitez when it comes to picking his side for Sunday’s game at Anfield, especially now that the interim manager has the rhythm of his rotation policy established. Recent results have been mixed, four wins and three defeats in the last seven games, which includes the second leg against Rubin Kazan, but Benitez is not about to change now.

It is quite possible that Terry will have to watch from the bench against Liverpool, as he did at Wembley on Sunday in the FA Cup semi-final against City. There was a moment against Sunderland this month when Terry was ready to come on before David Luiz recovered from an injury and played on. Terry reluctantly pulled his tracksuit top over his head and sat down.

“I accept the rotation system completely,” Terry said after Wednesday’s game. “I can definitely play twice a week, three games a week if need be. I don’t know where that arose from. I’m fit, I’m training every day and have been for the last three months, so I just want to set the record straight.

“I’m available, but at the same time, if the manager chooses not to pick me and decides to go with the others, there is not a problem because I’m Chelsea through and through and I want nothing more than to get Champions League football. If that means me playing, great. If not, I will be the biggest supporter in the dressing room.”

Asked whether it would be hard watching on Sunday, he said: “A little bit. Obviously myself and Frank [Lampard] have a good record there, but I don’t have a problem with the manager choosing other players in front of me. If he decides that’s his favourite pair then so be it. It’s down to me to work hard and maybe prove him wrong.”

It is no longer a case, however, of proving Benitez wrong. He has his de facto first and second string with some crossover but they are broadly distinguishable and Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic are first choice. None of Benitez’s Chelsea predecessors since Claudio Ranieri dropped Terry, although few have had quite such good alternatives.

The debate over Terry often ignores the fact that he remains a very accomplished two-footed defender. For a manager, like Andre Villas-Boas, who believes in the “high-block”, high line, then, yes, Terry can get caught out by the ball in behind. Yet Villas-Boas still picked Terry. When it comes to a player capable of nicking the ball away from a striker and marshalling a defence, there are few better.

This season, injuries have robbed him of the opportunity to play and the development of Ivanovic’s and Luiz’s partnership has reduced the team’s  reliance upon him. Gary Cahill, who could be back in contention at the weekend, is another issue.

“I don’t know where that [Cahill’s imminent return] puts me in the pecking order, all I can do is train hard, work hard and when I do get a chance, play well,” Terry said. “The goals are an added bonus for me. There are no complaints. If the manager is straight with me and tells me, that’s totally fine.”

He was also asked in that interview whether he felt Luiz could be a future Chelsea captain, and answered  diplomatically that he felt his team-mate could fulfil the role. But that the question alone was asked will tell him just how rapidly he is losing his once exalted status at the club. And that will hurt.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
Life and Style
'Prison Architect' players decide the fate of inmates
Life and Style
A picture taken on February 11, 2014 at people walking at sunrise on the Trocadero Esplanade, also known as the Parvis des droits de l'homme (Parvis of Human Rights), in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor