Chelsea are now four games into the new Premier League season and things have started well for Ancelotti. As 09/10 gathers pace, bridgeviews.co.uk and the chelseablog.org have teamed up to look back on the biggest debate of the summer: should Chelsea have sold John Terry? Here at chelseablog.org we argue yes, but click here for bridgeviews.co.uk‘s arguments for keeping our captain.
Let’s have a look at why TheChelseaBlog thinks we could and probably should have cashed in on John Terry when we had the chance:
It goes without saying John Terry is widely regarded as Chelsea’s most important player – the glue that holds the team together if you like – and some would suggest he’s also our most committed player – isn’t he the one man you can count on to truly wear his heart on his sleeve after all? He’s a sore loser and there’s nothing wrong with that at all, surely we all want a captain who hates losing? But what about his tears in the face of defeat, is that also what every club wants from its captain or should a captain be the one man on the field who can keep his emotions in check long enough to actually be there for his team-mates?
What of his commitment in terms of play though, surely the fact that he’s always been the master of the last-ditch tackle or the crucial goal-line clearance at Chelsea should mean his contribution is worth its weight in gold? Maybe so, but then again, his gung-ho style of play comes at a price. Whilst we’ve all watched in awe as he’s thrown his body on the line (literally) for years, its become all too clear he’s started to pay the price for that in recent seasons – and is no doubt held personally responsible for the threadbare carpet outside the treatment room.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting he’s ready to be put out to pasture yet but you can’t argue his injuries have mounted up. To date, he’s injured his knee, his ankle, his hamstring, his foot, his shoulder, his cheekbone – and it’s widely rumoured he has treatment on his back after every game.
Last season – in contrast to the injury hit season before – John Terry managed an incredible 48 games, and yet you’d have to suspect that in the absence of Ricardo Carvalho, there’d have been a few of them where he’d have been pushing himself through the pain barrier to be on the field. Because that’s what JT does – time and again returns from injury way sooner than anyone expects him to and probably sooner than he’s advised to – and over time, as his own doctors have said themselves, that’s going to cost him.
Injuries aside though, what does JT give us as a player? He’s always been a solid defender for us but is he world class? No, I don’t believe he is. Is he the best centre-back in the Premier League? To be honest, I’d have to say he isn’t even the best centre-back at Chelsea. His total commitment, ability to read the game and defensive partnerships are often thought to cover his lack of pace. I’ve certainly wondered in the past whether Carvalho’s performances have provided a cover for JT’s weaknesses and having watched him without Carvalho for the vast majority of last season, it was apparent he wasn’t anywhere near the level we’d come to expect of him.
Whilst some might well argue against that (and indeed I’d expect them to), the fact is we actually win more games (68%) when JT isn’t playing, than when he is (64%). Not a huge difference granted, but a sign at least that we can actually live without him because even in the big games, for example, against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal last season, we won just once and yet the Chelsea captain played all of those. So it can’t even be argued he’s necessarily a big game player – he definitely wasn’t regarded as one by most after Moscow anyway.
At 29, I just can’t see either John Terry’s performances or contribution improving over the next couple of years and whilst I’m not suggesting he hasn’t got a few good games in him, what I am suggesting is we’ve already had his best years.
Earlier in the year – before it ever looked a possibility – TheChelseaBlog had a hypothetical look at why selling John Terry might not have been such a bad idea in financial terms.
Ok, so Roman Abramovich isn’t exactly broke but compare our most notable signings over the past couple of years (Anelka, Deco, Malouda, Bosingwa) to those that’d gone before (Robben, Lampard, Shevchenko, Ballack, Ashley Cole, Essien, Cech) and it’s hardly surprising this ‘marquee’ signing we’d heard so much about over the summer didn’t materialise. Instead, this summer’s transfer window has seen us bring in Sturridge, Zhirkov and Turnball, whilst football’s latest big spenders have lashed out on players like Tevez, Adebayor, Gareth Barry and after a lot of argy-bargy, Joleon Lescott.
If rumours are to be believed, Manchester City were also prepared to splash out a further £40million for John Terry and whilst I can understand why some supporters would be reluctant to see him go, £40million is a shed-load of money for a centre-back. And it’s not as if we’d have to rush out and spend that on a replacement. We already have Carvalho, Alex and Ivanovic (who can play anywhere across the back four if you ignore his performance against Hull) and Michael Mancienne should be ready to step up to the first team if the club can resist the temptation to send him back out on loan when his latest spell is over. So realistically, that £40million would be money in the club’s back pocket.
Besides, with the age of our squad always the subject of much debate, as TheChelseaBlog pointed out earlier this year “If we’re looking at going through a transitional period, bringing in one or two new players maybe but using our younger players as much as possible, then £40million for a central defender who’s looked vulnerable to injury much more frequently over the past couple of seasons has to be a bloody good deal doesn’t it?”
John Terry should really thank his lucky stars. I mean how many 29 year olds do you know who earn £135,000 a week doing something they love? Hard to imagine really isn’t it? Ok, so now imagine your employers looking after you from the age of fourteen and giving you the best medical care by the best surgeons in the world whenever you need it. And imagine those employers allowing you to make shitloads of money even when you’ve brought embarrassment on them with a few ‘personal errors of judgement’, in fact, better still, imagine they even help you out when you’re in a spot of bother – you’d have to feel a certain amount of loyalty in return wouldn’t you?
Hardly surprising JT took just 23 days to make his mind up to stay at Chelsea after Man City’s approach then is it? I mean, obviously he made the statement committing his future to the club at the earliest opportunity, or as soon as he’d spent a few sleepless nights weighing up whether the £5million signing on fee would ease the pain of missing out on playing in Europe for the foreseeable future anyway. And yet, instead of wondering whether ‘Mr Chelsea’ was showing a lack of respect or loyalty for the club and the supporters he’s always professed to love so much, the vast majority choose to believe he’d actually spent those 23 days keeping us waiting only because his commitment was so great that he needed all that time to carefully consider the words he would use to tell us there was never a possibility of him leaving and that this had nothing to do with him wanting a pay rise. Which is strange, because despite having three years left on his contract, we’ve just heard he’s signed himself a new five-year one worth significantly more. Is paying £150,000/£170,000 a week or whatever the true amount is now a viable financial option for Chelsea until John Terry is 34? Particularly given the rate he seems to pick up injuries these days anyway – I’d have to say it smacks of extravagance. To be honest though, I’m surprised he even needs the money, what with the amount he’s just saved himself on an agent who’s also been there for him for several years, sorting out all his major contracts and high-profile deals.
But hang on, I suppose it’s a bit unfair to suggest John Terry is anything but completely loyal, after all, how often have we seen him chasing down refs to make sure Chelsea get what he feels they deserve? Ok, so that might lead to questions about his lack of self-discipline, not to mention the poor role modeling which could in-turn lead to other players following suit and before you know it we’d be surrounding the officials – but heaven forbid that should ever happen anyway eh?
Of course I’m being flippant but that’s probably because I just don’t see John Terry having the same standing in the game he once did. I actually think he’s calmed down since the Mourinho days where our players’ lack of discipline on the pitch seemed to come from his example more often than not, although having said that, more recently he did see fit to publicly endorse Didier Drogba’s Champions League rant last season – not something the footballing world would have much in the way of admiration for.
What about the dressing-room though? Again, that would appear to be something else that goes without saying, he’s certainly popular in there, players look up to him don’t they? They respect his opinion don’t they? But what if his opinion comes at a price – is that still ok? For instance, we know Claude Makelele suggests the Mourinho departure came as a direct result of JT’s opinion – and I know there’s plenty of supporters out there who would regard Mourinho’s leaving as a high price to pay to keep any one player. And whilst Chelsea may have played down the bust-up between our captain and Henk Ten Cate, we were later told they did indeed have a barney on the eve of our Carling Cup final against Spurs – which of course ended in defeat – ok, it was only the Carling Cup but I certainly begrudge losing any game to Spurs.
Still, the club must’ve been entirely right to suggest “John Terry is a symbol of this team. He wants to stay forever and we want to keep him forever. For Terry there is no price. Terry will be at Chelsea forever.” He is indeed a symbol of Chelsea, he’s a fighter, a winner, completely loyal, the sort of captain who’ll always be there when his players need him, except…..
Look out for follow-up arguments to this debate on www.bridgeviews.co..uk and www.thechelseablog.org later this week. But what do you think? Happy to see our captain stay or want to see the back of him? Post a comment.