If we are to believe rumor mill chatter over the last couple days, Chelsea Captain, Leader, Legend could very well break his promise to Chelsea fans and sign with another Premier League team this summer.
Reports that started in The Times — “John Terry will consider joining another Premier League club in the summer after receiving further indications that his playing career at Chelsea is coming to an end” — have escalated thanks to recent words from Frank Lampard and West Brom manager Tony Pulis as well.
The Times reports that Stoke City (with Sparky at the helm, whose interest while Manchester City boss was once leveraged by the captain into a sweet new contract) and AFC Bournemouth both approached JT with an offer in January, but he chose to stay. West Brom manager Tony Pulis then also confirmed that they had enquired and would probably remain interested should Terry choose to continue his playing career.
“[We were] just finding out what the situation was and then it was whether we moved on it or we didn't. There was more than one player we enquired about in January. You've mentioned John, but there was most probably three or four others of that ilk that we were enquiring about -- and I think enquiry is the word.”
“There was no approach made, it was just finding out what the situation was, and the situation was that John wanted to stay at Chelsea. I think he wanted to be there and stay there and be part of going out as a champion.”
“If he becomes available in the summer we'll sit down then and have a little think about what we've got and what we haven't got and then we'll take it from there.”
-Tony Pulis; source: ESPN
And there’s the big “if”. If John Terry becomes available. Would he be available? He’s always maintained that he would not play for another Premier League team and with West Brom quite safe from relegation, that should rule the Baggies out.
The Times’ report did say that JT’s options are “limited” if he wanted to carry on playing as MLS can’t/won’t afford him and he has no desire to move to China. Which leaves England.
Fellow Chelsea legend Frank Lampard recently opined that moving to a division rival, as long as they’re not Spurs, wouldn’t hurt Terry’s legacy. With all due respect to Super Frank, I’m not so sure about that. There’s something to be said for being true to your word and promises.
“It didn’t change the way I feel about Chelsea and I don’t think it changed the way they feel about me. I gave everything for the club and John certainly has.”
“I know whatever he does, unless he signs for Tottenham, he’ll be a legend! He wouldn’t do that but he needs to make his decision now whether that is play in the Premier League, go abroad, go into management. It’s his decision and I think every Chelsea fan will respect that.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Evening Standard
Of course Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte was asked about all this in Friday’s press conference as well — especially given the expectation that he won’t be rotating the squad as heavily, or at all, as in previous rounds of the FA Cup. As we’ve seen in other situations, Conte is very good at saying something that seems significant, but really isn’t really all that meaningful.
“I hope [it won’t be his last Cup game for Chelsea] no... I don't know about this. I prefer every situation — my situation, my players' situation — to face this type of situation at the end of the season when it'll be the right time for everyone.”
“John is doing great work this season, on and off the pitch and, for me, he's very important in this season because he's the captain and, I repeat, he's working very well on the pitch and helping me a lot in the changing room. Transferring the right message. For sure, he's an important player for us.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Evening Standard
Terry recently started studying in earnest for his coaching badges and has spoken repeatedly of being quite happy to stay on the bench as long as the team’s winning. If that’s the precursor for a move into a support/staff role at Chelsea next season, as we’re rumored to be wanting him to do, then it’s the next logical step in his continuing legend at the club.