There has been plenty of talk about John Terry of late, both of his desire to get a new one-year deal done and dusted, and of Jose Mourinho's confidence that the deal would get done. On Wednesday, we were treated to some comments Mourinho made about the club's policy of one-year deals for players over the age of 30:
"We decide at a certain age to stimulate the players, to provocate the players, to make them feel the past doesn’t play a role."
"We want players always in the present and tomorrow.give them one year of contract. If they don’t accept it is because they are not ready, they are not ready for the challenge. If they are not up for the challenge we don’t want them. John accepted the challenge last year and the fire is there. I think this contract will not be the last contract he signs."
"He surprised me because I have nothing in my hands to explain why he was not playing. Nothing in my hands that explains why he didn’t have his best two seasons before I arrive. I thought physically maybe he was suffering but step by step he was recovering his good feelings. This season is maybe even better than last season."
I like the policy in general, as it should help us avoid the sort of issues we had following our last Premier League title, when we had many aging stars on expensive contracts that were next to impossible to move. Losing players like Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard is never fun, but watching the team perform at a higher level with younger replacements is.
That said, Terry has probably been the best defender in the league this season, if not all of Europe. Bringing him back on a one-year deal at this point is a no-brainer, and I think the club would have to think long and hard about this policy if the Chelsea captain decided to demand a second season.
Mourinho also spoke about young Frenchman Kurt Zouma, who he didn't believe would see a lot of action before the season got underway:
"The kid [Zouma] helps them because he stimulates them. The kid is there to play with lots of ambition. It’s good for them but also good for the kid."
"The guys have experience and want to help him. Zouma is playing even more than I thought. In pre-season I thought Ivanovic would be my first choice to replace them but not any more."
Zouma's development has definitely been one of the most pleasant surprises of the season, as the doubts about him never centered around the tools he possesses, but whether he'd have the composure to effectively use them. It's likely that training alongside experienced veterans like John Terry, Gary Cahill, and Branislav Ivanovic has really hasted that development, and it's easy to picture Zouma being the first choice to replace Terry when he finally does hang them up.