Chelsea would be making “a mistake at every level” if they let John Terry go and could be creating problems in the dressing room by keeping him in the dark on his future, according to Graeme Souness.
Terry, who made his 698th Chelsea appearance in Sunday’s 1-1 Premier League draw with Manchester United, said last week he expected to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season after being told there was no contract offer on the table.
Chelsea later insisted Terry could yet be offered a 19th season at the club, with the incoming manager likely to be given a say, but the 35-year-old said after the United game that there had still been “no communication” between him and the club.
Souness sees no justification for allowing Terry to leave.
“I cannot believe John Terry won’t be here next year,” the Scot said on Sky Sports.
“It would be a mistake at every level if you get rid of John Terry at this football club.
“I can’t think of one reason why you wouldn’t want him here. If it’s solely down to football John Terry has to be here.
“You can go and spend all the money you want, spend £50million to £60m and go and buy the best centre-back out there, but he’s not going to come into the Chelsea dressing room with the same influence.
“He might give you the same on the pitch, but he’s not going to give what John Terry gives you in the dressing room.”
Souness believes the treatment of Terry could even have an adverse influence on other players.
He said: “If he’s being treated shabbily…other people in that dressing room will think, ‘If they can do that to John Terry, next up it’ll be me’.
“It’s a very dangerous road to go down. If it is John Terry’s time to go you’ve got to let him exit with some dignity and let him hold his head up high.”
Thierry Henry echoed Souness’ comments, adding: “I cannot understand why you are keeping that guy in the dark. It doesn’t make sense.
“He has to be here. I don’t think the guys they’re trying to buy are going to have the same influence he’s having at the moment.
“His desire is there and he’s been showing that desire for Chelsea for a long time.”