John Terry confirmed Chelsea departure due to managerial uncertainty

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John Terry confirmed that he anticipates leaving Chelsea in the summer because he perceived the Premier League champions intended to consult their new manager before determining whether a further 12-month deal would be forthcoming.

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The club captain surprised the Chelsea hierarchy by announcing publicly, in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s 5-1 FA Cup fourth round win at Milton Keynes Dons, that he had been told ahead of the recent victory at Arsenal that his stay was not to be extended beyond the summer. “They said that, when the new manager comes in, things might change, but it’s a ‘no’ at the minute,” he said. “I needed to know now, like I have done every January, and sometimes it takes a couple of months to get done. Unfortunately it was a ‘no’. So it’s not going to be a fairytale ending. I’m not going to retire at Chelsea.”

That statement had apparently not been pre-planned, and was merely an impromptu response to a question thrown at him in the post-match media mixed zone. But the suggestion the club’s hierarchy are keen to discuss Terry’s future with the candidate they appoint on a permanent basis in the summer is understood to have frustrated the 35-year-old, who is free at present to negotiate a deal with a foreign club for the end of the campaign.

Terry, now a veteran of 696 Chelsea appearances, has signed two one-year contract extensions since 2014, in line with the club’s policy of offering 12-month deals to players over 30, with José Mourinho in situ on both occasions to fling his support behind the centre-half. In 2014 the deal was not formalised until May, and it was March last year before Chelsea made the announcement that the player would be staying on for an 18th senior campaign at the club.

Yet, with no permanent head coach in place this time round, the club were apparently reluctant to pre-empt what their next manager’s attitude would be towards retaining Terry, potentially leaving the defender in limbo well beyond the end of the current campaign. The captain could justifiably point to the apparent inconsistency in policy given Branislav Ivanovic has recently signed new terms for next season, while the young centre-half Matt Miazga has been recruited this month. Regardless, his dismay appears to have provoked him into going public with his belief that his time at Stamford Bridge is drawing to a close.
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No concrete offers are believed to be on the table as yet, but the player is sure to attract interest from China – where he already boasts strong links having undertaken a one-man promotional tour last summer – the Gulf and, potentially, Major League Soccer. They will be considered as they come in, though Terry has made it clear he will not consider a move to a rival English club, and may even opt not to pursue a move to a European team.

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Chelsea’s search for a long-term successor to Mourinho is hampered by the reality the club do not yet know whether they will be able to offer the new man Champions League football next term. While Diego Simeone at Atlético Madrid would be their preferred candidate, the merits of a number of candidates – including Antonio Conte, Massimiliano Allegri, Mark Hughes and even the likes of Eddie Howe and Claudio Ranieri – have been discussed.

The club indicated in a statement, issued late on Sunday night, that they do not consider Terry certain to depart the club in the summer. “John requested a meeting with the club the week before last,” said a spokesman. “In that meeting he asked about the possibility of an extension to his existing contract. John was advised that while no new deal was currently on the table, that situation could change in the coming months.

“The club has the utmost respect for John and everything he has helped us achieve to date. He is a fantastic servant of Chelsea Football Club and a superb captain and, as such, the club will keep the channels of dialogue open.”

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