John Terry has confirmed that the new contract offered to him by Chelsea Football Club earlier in the week is for a ‘different role’ at the club moving forward.
The 35-year-old centre-back’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season and Chelsea were keen for contract negotiations to remain behind closed doors. However Terry admitted in January that they had not spoken to him and he would not be staying beyond the summer. This led to protests from some Chelsea fans, with numerous supporters holding up banners in support of the club captain during the game against Liverpool on Wednesday night.
It was believed that the announcement of a new contract offer by the club yesterday would stave off any potential protests at the final game of the season at Stamford Bridge tomorrow afternoon. That has now been put in some doubt, with Terry taking to social media platform Instagram to say, “The contract extension the club has offered me is a different role and I hope everyone will understand I want to take the time to consider it carefully before making a decision”.
It has been a season of disharmony at Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho, the manager beloved by Chelsea fans, was sacked in December after leading the club to their worst start to a top-flight campaign since the 1960s. The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ was involved in a high profile disagreement with one of the club’s doctors, Eva Carneiro, after she entered the field of play to give treatment to a seemingly injured Eden Hazard on the opening day of the season.
That disagreement was believed to have caused something of a ruction with the squad, most of whom were quite close to Carneiro. It has also led to legal proceedings against both the club and Mourinho himself that are still ongoing. After Mourinho’s sacking some sections of the Chelsea support made their feelings known to the players over the fact that they felt they weren’t playing well enough to deliberately get the Portuguese manager sacked, with Fabregas, Hazard and Costa amongst those targeted.
Mourinho was replaced by Guus Hiddink on an interim basis until the end of the season. The Dutchman, who arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2009 under similar circumstances when Roman Abramovich, Chelsea’s owner, sacked Brazilian manager Luis Felipe Scolari. That year he won the FA Cup with the Blues, though this year they were knocked out of that competition by Everton in the quarter-finals.
Terry’s contract negotiations are, therefore, merely the latest in a long line of problems the club has endured this season. They have dropped more points compared to the previous season than any Premier League team before them. The club has already announced that current Italian manager Antonio Conte will be their permanent head coach for next season. Conte will arrive in West London after taking Italy to the European Championships and favours a formation that allows for three centre-backs, leading some to speculate that Terry could yet extend his playing career at Stamford Bridge.
The former England captain, who is suspended for the visit of new Premier League champions Leicester City tomorrow, has so far made 703 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions since his debut in 1998. Whether he decides to continue a career at the club away from the football pitch remains to be seen, though Hiddink said on Friday that ‘t’s good to have big players in a club who are big personalities’.