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Chelsea skipper’s future must be Mourinho’s top priority

Terry out of contract at the end of the season, with negotiations yet to begin.

With Juan Mata departing Stamford Bridge and Mohamed Salah arriving, the issue of skipper John Terry’s future has drifted into the background.

Terry’s contract expires at the end of the season and the club are yet to open negotiations over a new deal. In his press conference last week, Mourinho responded to questions over that deal by saying: “Everything comes naturally, without headlines and without any kind of pressure. Naturally it will happen.”

However, according to a report in today’s Daily Mirror, Terry is getting fed up of waiting. The report suggests that the centre-back is resigned to leaving at the end of the season.

Should Chelsea offer Terry a new deal, it is unlikely to be more than a one-year extension, while Turkish side Galatasaray could make a move having already snapped up another Chelsea legend in Didier Drogba.

Mourinho must make Terry’s deal a priority. To let him leave would surely be a huge error of judgement. Not least because of the vast experience Terry still brings to this side.

In his time at Stamford Bridge he has won the Champions League, three Premier League titles and five FA Cups – his performances still ooze leadership and experience. If anything he has improved this season under Mourinho, after falling out of favour under Rafael Benitez.

In Chelsea’s recent 3-1 win over Manchester United, Terry was imperious. Chris Kamara, the Sky Sports pundit, summed up his influence perfectly: “He’s a throw-back, an old-school organiser; he’s not the quickest but hardly ever gets caught out.”

Even despite his age – 33 – Terry is not a player on the way down. A one-year contract extension would represent the minimum reward for a player who has spent his whole career at the club and whose performances still rarely dip below standard.

Such deals are of course, murky waters, and it may be that Terry must accept a pay cut if he is to be offered a new deal. With the defender reported to be on £165,000 a week, Chelsea would be within their rights to demand that that wage is lowered substantially.

But it is the lack of any movement at all towards a new deal which is most baffling.

Mourinho has shown with his sale of Mata to Manchester United that he is not afraid to make big decisions over the future of his key players. But unlike Mata, there is only one decision he can make with Terry – the skipper must stay at Stamford Bridge.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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