John Terry is reportedly exploring options to play in China, the United States or the Middle East following the announcement his Chelsea contract would not be renewed at the end of the season.
The long-serving Blues captain went public with the club’s decision not to renew his contract at Stamford Bridge on Sunday night, but despite the club’s insistence that extending his stay at the club remains a possibility, it is claimed Terry is already looking into lucrative moves abroad.
The defender confirmed on Sunday that he “could not play for another Premier League club” when he leaves Chelsea. He is very unlikely to stay in Europe, having decided to move next season into one of football’s emerging markets. The likeliest destinations are Major League Soccer, where his contemporaries Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole all now play, or further afield in the Middle East or in China.
Those leagues would guarantee more in salary and in contract security than Terry might make elsewhere. Barcelona legend Xavi signed a three-year deal with Al Sadd in Qatar last year, earning an annual tax-free salary of €10m (£7.5m). Similarly, Ramires joined Chinese club Jiangsu Suning last week for £25m and is now earning in the region of £10m net each year, although Terry could hope to earn far more even than that.
Chelsea are in the fifth round of the FA Cup and the last 16 of the Champions League, giving Terry the possibility of ending his career at the club with a 17th major trophy. While Chelsea’s public position suggests that they may be persuaded to offer the 35-year-old a contract extension, Terry might wonder what the club could expect to learn about him in the final few months of his 16th season in their first team. He believes the matter to be closed.
The departure of Terry will deprive Chelsea of a whole generation of experience, forcing them to find adequate replacements at centre-back and as captain. The club have already signed Matt Miazga, the 20-year-old US international, although he is thought to be more of a long-term project than an immediate first-teamer.
Terry’s impending exit should help to assure Gary Cahill’s future at the club.
The defender admitted on Monday that he wants to stay at Stamford Bridge but wants to be playing more regularly.