So, Terry’s staying. Course he is - never in doubt.
It’s been an interesting few weeks, with endless debate in the papers about where John Terry would be playing next season. Yesterday however (and as you will have no doubt read), our captain committed his future to Chelsea, claiming he never considered leaving. He also gave us a some ‘insight’ into what has been going on behind the scenes over the last month. To summarise, this is what he’s said so far:
- He’s staying at Chelsea – and wants to finish his career at Stamford Bridge
- He never considered leaving for Man City
- The issue wasn’t about money – he hasn’t discussed a new contract
- He was concerned about the club securing key players – citing Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba – with new deals
- He was also concerned about the club signing top quality players – he revealed that Chelsea have fallen short of signing top names because prices were just a little too high. He didn’t rule out new signings being made
- He now feels assured about the club’s ambition
We may never know what the thrust of these last five weeks have really been about for Terry. Yes, he may not have considered leaving – but it’s not just a coincidence that Man City’s interest occurred at the same time as his talks with the board: he was certainly using the interest as leverage for something, whether it was money or otherwise.
Having heard his comments on Sky Sports News this morning, the cynic in me struggles to believe that money played no part in the conversations. JT said that they didn’t discuss a contract but intimated that one might be signed next year. Perhaps talk that Abramovich refused to countenance a new contract wasn’t far off the mark, but as a compromise it was agreed to re-negotiate at the end of 09/10? But who knows, perhaps a new contract will be announced in the next couple of weeks. It also seems likely from his comments that Ashley Cole and Drogba will sign new deals in the near future – undoubtedly good news, especially regarding the former, who had been linked with a move to Spain.
Like most fans out there (of Chelsea and other sides), I’m genuinely happy that Terry’s head hasn’t been turned by lure of preposterous amounts of cash – though I would also admit to thinking that £40m for him would be an excellent deal for the club. The announcement is also positive as it rubber-stamps Chelsea’s status in the league and helps ensure that we won’t be weakened going into the new season, unlike some of our competitors. That he's staying is what really matters.
But if, as John Terry says, this wasn’t about money, then one thing does concern me slightly: the power he is wielding at the club and what that means long-term.
As a captain, John Terry is out there on his own in England – there isn’t another like him – and Chelsea are the lucky benefactors. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that he’s more vocal than most, both publically and privately, about club policy. But if I were Kenyon, I’d see the last five weeks as a troubling sign that Terry’s influence (which is probably the result of the ego vacuum left after Mourinho's departure) is spiralling out of control. There’s no way Terry should have been talking about signing Villa or Ribery after the FA Cup. He shouldn’t be holding the club to ransom over the players he wants to see getting new contracts and openly naming them. And admitting where the club has fallen short in the transfer market - what is the point in Chelsea denying making a bid for Kaka if Terry’s going to suggest otherwise?
And who is caught in the middle of this? Ancelotti. Plenty has been said in the papers that Ancelotti is happy to work with an opinionated owner, and that his pliability was one of the reasons he was hired. Fine. But clearly Ancelotti now has two contending voices of considerable authority seeking to influence the club’s direction from above and below. What if, hypothetically, Ancelotti had decided that for the club to change its playing style and identity it was necessary for Drogba to move on (not an unrealistic hypothesis)?
If the primary objective of hiring a top manager this time is to finally get some consistency and long term-ism into Chelsea’s planning after a tumultuous few years, Terry’s inexorably increasing influence is surely a spanner in the works. And that cannot be a good thing.
Am I worrying too much? Wouldn’t be the first time…but post a comment.