Manchester City will see John Terry opposite them tomorrow lunchtime but that is as close as they will ever get to the Chelsea captain. Robinho, bought for a British record £32.5m last September, will not get the chance to compare summer holiday notes with the defender when City start pre-season training in July, nor to complain about the weather, because Terry will not be joining City when this season ends, nor any time after that. At least that is the way Guus Hiddink, Chelsea's interim manager, sees it.
City made an enquiry in December about Terry's availability that Chelsea batted away but they will, in all likelihood, try again in June although Hiddink believes Terry would never contemplate such a transfer. Nor, he added, should Chelsea countenance it if they want to remain in contention for Premier League or Champions League titles. By the by, Hiddink also pondered whether City's billionaire owners, who took control last August, could ever find their way to the success they so obviously crave.
When the Dutchman, who took over last month from the sacked Luiz Felipe Scolari, was reminded of City's interest in Terry, he said: "John made a very clear statement – that he is a Chelsea man and wants to stay a Chelsea man. I'm not the money man, but the club made it very clear that they want to continue 'forever' with John."
Defender Terry, 28 and also the England captain, is one of Chelsea's prize assets, along with the midfielders Michael Essien, Frank Lampard and striker Didier Drogba, but mindful that he has never played for another club – bar Nottingham Forest on loan nine years ago – Hiddink feels that no offer would get the east Londoner to change allegiance.
He said: "There are some kind of players brought up within this club, so it'd be difficult to do so [sell him]. You have to ask the CEO and other people. But there's also a kind of history with him. His statement was clear. So was the club's statement [in December]." Given the current financial climate, and their much-stated desire to break even, rather than rely on owner Roman Abramovich's largesse, Chelsea long ago admitted they will have to offload players before they strengthen.
The way Hiddink sees it, Terry will not be one of those sold in order to raise money to reshape or rebuild a squad that, lying seven points behind Manchester United having played a game more, must now see the Champions League or FA Cup as their most realistic hopes of a trophy this season.
Hiddink said: "It's up to the Chelsea people, who are ultimately responsible for that [keeping or selling Terry] but I can imagine that John Terry will stay until the end of his career. There's more than money in this. There's also the culture of the club, a history with the club."
In saying that, he was touching on City's new-found wealth, thanks to their Arab owners, and their desire to become a team capable of winning major honours before too long. While admitting he found it hard to get his head around the morality of a player being worth £100m – the offer City made for Milan's Kaka in January – he also warned City that money alone is not the answer if they want to win the league, something they last achieved in 1968. They remain some way short of that, although a 2-0 Uefa Cup win against Aalborg in the last 16 on Thursday night brought hope that silverware may be within their reach this season.
He said: "Nothing is impossible in this country especially when you have financial power but you have clubs who have been fighting for the title and that is an experience which is very valuable. It's not easy to get in between the big clubs and if they continue to be as strong then it is difficult to see a team forcing their way in."Reuse content