John Terry in the dark over new contract
Chelsea captain still to discover if he will be offered new terms ahead of a contract that expires in the summer.
Chelsea are poised to reward two of their defensive heroes with new contracts and pay rises as John Terry, the captain, is left in the dark over his future.
Central defender Gary Cahill and makeshift left-back César Azpilicueta are in line to be recognised for their impressive performances this season, despite the fact that their current deals do not expire until 2017.
Terry’s contract runs out at the end of the season, but Chelsea are yet to make the 33-year-old any sort of offer and have told him to expect no more than a one-year extension.
It is not an automatic certainty that Terry will accept a one-year extension at this stage of his career, particularly if Chelsea also demand he takes a cut to his £165,000-a-week wages.
Terry’s central defensive partner Cahill is paid around £80,000 a week, having moved to Chelsea from Bolton Wanderers in 2012 for £7million.
Cahill has performed superbly next to Terry this season and was once again on top form in Chelsea’s 1-0 victory against Manchester City, hitting the post and making a series of vital blocks.
Chelsea are now ready to offer Cahill a pay rise to take the 28-year-old into the next band of earners on around £100,000 a week and add up to two more years on to his contract.
Azpilicueta is thought to be earning less than Chelsea youngsters Josh McEachran and Nathaniel Chalobah, who are both out on loan.
Despite the fact that he is naturally a right-back, Azpilicueta has replaced Ashley Cole as Chelsea’s first-choice left-back this season and managed to keep City winger Jesús Navas quiet on Monday night.
As recognition for his growing standing in the club, the 24-year-old Azpilicueta could be offered a double-your-money rise to around £60,000 a week and have his contract extended past 2017.
Cahill, Azpilicueta and Terry have helped Chelsea to concede just two goals in their last 10 games, keeping eight clean sheets.
While Terry will be pleased for his team-mates, Chelsea’s readiness to secure the futures of Cahill and Azpilicueta will make his situation all the more confusing.
Terry is frustrated that his future has not already been sorted out and believes there should be more scope for negotiation than simply being forced to agree to a one-year extension.
Jose Mourinho has claimed that he will recommend to the board that Terry is offered a new deal, but the manager reiterated that club policy is to only give outfield players over the age of 30 no more than one year.
Cole signed a new Chelsea contract in January last year, while midfielder Frank Lampard was made to wait until May before his one-year extension was confirmed.
It is thought that Terry wants greater security than an extra 12 months and would consider deals that contained automatic triggers or options for further extensions. Other than the length of contract and wages on offer, Terry will also consider how he wants to finally leave Chelsea when the club eventually approach him.
Terry has talked to friends about how striker Didier Drogba managed to make the best possible exit by leaving Chelsea as a Champions League winner in 2012.
Should Chelsea win the Premier League title or Champions League this season, then that may well come into Terry’s thinking. He will have also noted that Cole and Lampard signed short-term contract extensions and have spent much of this season on the substitutes bench.
If Terry decided to leave Chelsea, then it is unlikely that he would remain in the Premier League. Monaco could provide an attractive and lucrative option, while there is also thought to be interest from Italy and Drogba’s Galatasaray.
Terry’s impressive form and fitness have prompted calls for him to be brought out of international retirement for England in time to play at the World Cup.
That remains an unlikely scenario, as Terry believes the door is closed for him over England. Manager Roy Hodgson would only consider a recall if the player announces he wants to come out of international retirement.
Cahill has hailed the influence that Mourinho is having on him and his Chelsea team-mates this season, as they battle for the Premier League title with City and Arsenal.
“When you’ve got a massive club, with massive players, and you add a massive manager – I think it combines really well,” Cahill said.