First there was Drogba. The fans weren’t delighted, but it had come to a glorious finale, and the logic of allowing the Ivorian talisman to leave on a high was grudgingly understood. Then came the bombshell that Frank Lampard wouldn’t be offered a new contract. The fans – joined by much of the football world - were less understanding. Even now, as the seemingly inevitable draws nearer, hopes still linger of a last minute change of heart. Next, there were even rumours of an Arsenal approach for PetrCech; strangely not dismissed out of hand by the club. Now however, the deal that dare not breathe its own name around the environs Stamford Bridge has been floated - selling John Terry.
Newspaper reports have it that Fenerbache, anxious not to lose a march on arch rivals Galatasaray want to sign the “Captain, Leader, Legend.” From the Turkish club’s perspective, there’s sound logic and judgement. Across the Bosporus Galatasaray have made big signings in Wesley Schneider and the afore-mentioned ex-Chelsea striker Didier Drogba. If the merit of these deals is measured by success on the field, they can be deemed very much to be in the ‘merit’ side of the page. Four points clear of Fenerbache they also face a Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid. Little wonder then that Fenerbache have been stirred to action. But how serious is the prospect of the former England captain shipping off to Istanbul? Well, the answer may be that, as they say, ‘it’s got legs.’
From Chelsea’s perspective, although he retains that inspirational quality, the simple truth remains that as Terry traverses the thirties, increasingly the trail of injury heroics over the years will be biting back with regularity. His place – albeit under ‘interim coach’ Benitez – is far from secure as a first team regular, and appears to have little prospect of improving in the short team. He is also about to enter the final year of his contract, where a ‘sell or sign’ decision will be imminent. Finally, selling the club captain will be the clearest signal Abramovich can give that control of the club and the decisions made rest with no-one other than the oligarch himself.
It may also be that Terry would see a couple of years in Istanbul as an attractive proposition, especially when balanced against a season potentially sitting out his contract with continuingly increasing ‘bench time.’ Although Turkish football has doubtlessly improved over recent times, it remains a fairly clear truth that defending in the Turkish league would be a less arduous – if perhaps just as physical – as operating in the Premier League. Safe to say, in addition, that a sizeable cheque would also be drifting his way to help in his dotage. Finally, it would be an opportunity to both cock a snook and close the door on the FA, press and discard the baggage that he carries about in England.
All of this may of course be conjecture, and perhaps Fenerbache are doing a bit of PR to counter Galatasaray’s success. That said, when Manchester City tried to secure Terry’s services a couple of years ago, the chances of success were pretty slim. This time, should a more persistent approach be made by Fenerbache, the result may be somewhat different.