West Ham boss Slaven Bilic stopped short of publicly admitting his interest in John Terry, but hinted he would be looking at the possibility of signing the defender.
Terry, 36, for the second season running has announced he will be leaving Chelsea, but this time the former England man is expected to move away from west London.
Terry announced his departure via a statement on Monday and this time the club are unlikely to come in with a new deal to keep the one-club captain.
Last season Terry looked all set to leave before Antonio Conte was instrumental in keeping the defender after he turned down mega money in China and took a huge pay cut to remain.
Asked whether West Ham would be interested in Terry, Bilic told Sky Sports: “He definitely has got at least a couple of years left with his quality and experience and leadership.
“Whether that will be with West Ham or elsewhere I don’t know, we don’t think about that right now but I don’t think it is the end of John Terry’s career. He’s going to do well.
“Every manager and club would think about John Terry if he’s available because there are not many leaders like him, but then again we have experience in that position, we have good players in that position, so never say never but to be fair I don’t think about that right now.”
Bilic, who was a central defender himself, claimed Terry was one of the best defenders ever to grace the Premier League.
“He’s on top [Premier League’s best ever defenders], together with Rio Ferdinand,” added Bilic.
“John Terry is like a symbol. When we are talking about leadership and talking about needing characters and leadership on the pitch, we are talking about them.
“We are talking about Gerrard, Lampard, Terry, Ferdinand, we are not talking about new guys. So John Terry is Mr Chelsea, he’s done everything.
“I never played against him but I managed teams against him, against Chelsea and maybe four times against England with Croatia. He was always like an anchor there, not only with his quality but his presence and everything. He was a natural leader.”