John Terry could earn just £5,000 a week if he move to America's MLS
John Terry may be forced to take up a lucrative offer from China or the Middle East as no clubs in America’s Major League Soccer have indicated a willingness to sign him on ‘designated player’ status.
It means central defender Terry, who has been paid over £100,000-a-week at Chelsea, could only earn around £5,000-a-week in America because of the MLS wage cap structure.
Each MLS club is allowed to sign up to three ‘designated players’ who fall outside the wage cap, such as former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard who earns about £4million-a-year at New York City.
Terry, who believes he has played his last game for Chelsea after being sent-off at Sunderland, is understood to already have a big offer on the table from China and has attracted interest from the Middle East.
He has been keen on the idea of following Lampard to America, but MLS clubs only hand out their highly-paid designated player spots to forwards or midfielders. Defenders rarely fall into that category and Ashley Cole took a huge wage cut to move to LA Galaxy on non-designated player status because the club have Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard and Giovani dos Santos as their highest earners.
Ex-Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is at Montreal Impact, while David Villa and Andrea Pirlo are in New York with Lampard.
There are a few exceptions, such as Liam Ridgewell at Portland Timbers, but the former Aston Villa defender earns around £15,000-a-week – much less than the attackers and midfielders on designated player status.
It means moving to America would have to be a lifestyle choice for 35-year-old Terry, rather than a financial decision, as he could earn far more by spending a season in China.
Sources close to the Chinese Super League believe Terry has already been made an offer, possibly worth as much as £20m, to follow former Blues midfielder Ramires to the Far East.
Terry already has strong links in China, having embarked on a one-man promotional tour in the country last summer and travelled to Shanghai as part of a Chelsea coaching course in March.
Former Chelsea star Gianfranco Zola has expressed an interest in taking Terry to Qatar club Al Arabi, where he is manager.
Chelsea are yet to confirm that Terry will not be offered a new contract, but the player believes his time with the club is up after being told that he would have to wait to find out if his deal will be extended past the end of the current campaign.
Former team-mates and managers of Terry have been asked to contribute to a tribute package for the former England international that Chelsea have been compiling for the club’s end-of-season awards following the final game of the season against Leicester City.
Chelsea captain Terry was also conspicuous by his absence in the promotional shots released of the club’s new kit.
Incoming Chelsea manager Antonio Conte wants to sign at least one new central defender this summer, while 18-year-old Jake Clarke-Salter is likely to be the club’s fourth choice option in the position behind a new man, Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill next season.