Decision time for Terry as Blues offer new deal
The political posturing over John Terry's future has taken an unexpected twist, with Chelsea taking the unprecedented step of announcing that their captain has been offered a one-year contract, even though he is still considering the proposal.
Terry was offered the extension to his deal at a meeting with director Marina Granovskaia and chairman Bruce Buck at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Chelsea are hopeful he will accept the offer, despite it requiring him to take a pay cut.
It is understood that Terry also has an offer from China worth £20m over two years, which means he has to choose between the Far East and the club he has called home since he was 14.
With Terry considering his options, Chelsea decided to go public with the news yesterday, which will help to placate angry fans ahead of tomorrow's final game of the season, against Leicester City.
More pertinently, the move puts the onus on Terry, with Chelsea making it public knowledge that it is now up to the 35-year-old whether he extends his career at Stamford Bridge.
Terry had put Chelsea under pressure by revealing in January that he had not been offered a new contract and claiming that this was likely to be his final season at the club. That frustrated officials, who had wanted talks to be kept private.
Chelsea always maintained that a decision on Terry's future would not be made until the appointment of a permanent head coach, and Antonio Conte, who takes over in the summer, has had an input into the surprise offer.
The timing of the announcement, however, appears to have been firmly dictated by owner Roman Abramovich.
The club refused to comment on the nature of their offer to Terry, who earns more than £100,000 a week under his current deal, but it is understood he will have to accept a cut to his basic pay, with the promise of appearance-related add-ons.
Chelsea refused to take direct questions on Terry's contract yesterday, but interim manager Guus Hiddink said: "I think once the two are talking to each other regarding the near future is a good signal for everyone, in the stands as well."
Hiddink also suggested he favoured Chelsea attempting to keep Terry by adding: "This man is rather fit. Talk to him and he says he was never the fastest, but he was always arriving in time. It's not about age. He is mentally strong and also good for the younger people, let's say the academy boys. He's very good to inspire them."
Terry is one of only three players to reach 700 appearances for Chelsea; the centre-half has won the Champions League, four Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Europa League with the club.
Asked if it is important to keep one-club players in either a playing or coaching capacity, Hiddink said: "Clubs must be very aware of using the strengths of those guys. When they have a beautiful career and are attached to one club - Manchester United have had some very good players, legends - they should switch off for a year or half a year and then come back.
"They must switch off from their (playing) career before going down another path. When a club has an opportunity to integrate them in their culture, I'm in favour of that.
"The condition is the players, when they know they have said farewell to their playing days, must make a transition in their lives, too.
"But most of the legends are 'simple' people. They know the game, they have felt the success and failure of the game, and if they can transfer that to the young boys, it's perfect."
Other than gathering tributes to Terry for last night's player of the year awards, Chelsea have booked a party at the club's Under the Bridge nightclub following the Leicester game, which the captain will watch from the stands because of suspension.
Terry plans to turn out at Stamford Bridge next Monday after Chelsea waived the £22,000 for him to hire the stadium to play a game with close friends.
This is the third one-year contract offer Terry has received in the past three years, but neither of the other two was made public until he had signed. In the past, Chelsea have waited until the close season before announcing the departures of other star players, such as Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Michael Ballack. (© Daily Telegraph, London)