After not getting his contract renewed at Aston Villa at the end of last season, John Terry became a free agent once again and the search for a new club ensued. According to the youngest of reports, he might have found a new employer in form of Portuguese club Sporting CP, whose presidential candidate Pedro Madeira Rodrigues has promised to sign several free agents, one of whom is a “great champion”.
“I’m negotiating by the penny. They are foreigners. A left-back, a striker and a great champion - all players who have no contract. I can say one because I’ve been caught up with him. It’s John Terry, a great champion, a player who does not come to win games, but comes to win games in training. I cannot pay him what he’s used to, but I think he’s very close to being our player.
-Pedro Rodrigues; source: Daily Mirror
It doesn’t seem far-fetched for Terry to join Sporting, one of the Primeira Liga’s “Big Three” (alongside Porto and Benfica). The 37-year-old has generally enjoyed spending his holidays in Portugal over the years — including at least once this summer — and he reportedly started learning the language last summer. Add to this the definite talks between Rodrigues and the skipper and this scenario may very well play out. Of course, the presidential candidate would have to win first (the vote is on Saturday). Portugal’s transfer window doesn’t close for another 2.5 weeks (September 21).
There have also been some dubious reports linking Terry with a return to Aston Villa. The reason why he wasn’t offered a new contract at Villa Park last season was the club’s dire financial situation. They gambled on promotion but lost in the playoff final to Fulham, and were consequently left with quite a mess. Surprisingly, they were able to secure considerable investment from “mega-wealthy” Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, who purchased a 55 per cent stake in the club and started pumping money into it. Terry could thus make a belated return to help out Steve Bruce once again — EFL rules allow clubs to sign and register free agents at any time.
Whether the Chelsea legend ultimately decides to stay in England or choose to go abroad for the first time in his career remains to be seen. Realistically, this may very well prove to be Terry’s final season before hanging up his boots, possibly making a destination outside England attractive, especially if a given offer might involve some future coaching considerations.
One thing is certain: wherever John Terry ends up, he will give it his absolute all. That’s simply what he does, on and off the pitch.