Beginning his west London career at 14, the now-33-year-old defender has been a rock 10 months into Jose Mourinho’s second spell as Chelsea boss.
Starting 41 of Chelsea's 43 matches, Terry has been the heart of Mourinho's defence—statistically the best of the 2013-14 Premier League.
So why are the Blues seemingly willing to sever ties with the former England captain?
In two words or less: Club policy.
The same policy which has Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole on the doorstep of greener pastures, per Cross' report, and the same business model which has seen the likes of Didier Drogba and countless others in the over-30 club depart Stamford Bridge.
Terry—you would think—is an exceptional case.
Drogba and Lampard, while now accepted as Chelsea legends, were not youth-team players for the club and did not rise through the ranks as it were—but Terry was and did. The notion of being a "one-team footballer" your whole career is remarkable, so Terry’s alleged contract offer of £75,000 seems rather staggering.
As a 14-year-old Barking lad, you cannot have imagined Terry envisioning the club Chelsea were going to transform into—one which had the resources to buy any player the world had to offer. In 2003, Roman Abramovich stepped in Stamford Bridge's owner's suite and made all things possible.
Yet, no matter how many billions ownership possessed, one centre-back slot was automatically taken by the Chelsea-bred defender. The likes of David Luiz, Gary Cahill or even Branislav Ivanovic and Ricardo Carvalho were never threats to supplant or replace Terry.
Firstly, because he was scarcely injured and secondly because he was nothing short of world class.
Considering 617 Chelsea appearances (not out), winning the 2001 and 2006 Chelsea Player of the Year awards, four UEFA Team of the Year honours (2005, 2007-09) and the 2004-05 PFA Player of the Year award there is no wonder why a plethora of Chelsea managers have decided to leave Terry domineering their back fours.
So what has changed?
Other than time—not much in truth.
Never blessed with blistering pace, Terry’s game predicates on tenacity and his uncanny ability to be in an advantageous position ubiquitously.
His long-time teammate Cole cannot say the same. His positional awareness is top rate as well, but when your game is rooted in rapidity, "father time is undefeated" as the old adage goes. Cole has seen his minutes significantly garnished by Mourinho this year, in large part because his skill set is upgraded by a younger, faster, hungrier Cesar Azpilicueta.
Lampard coexists somewhere in the middle of Terry and Cole. The athleticism Lampard needs to execute his role can fall off ever so slightly—as the Blues' No. 8 relies on his mental acuity and experience, much like the Chelsea No. 26.
Mourinho has stated his desire to keep the Chelsea captain aboard, via ESPN FC, but contract talks are out of his hands. Terry's amount of games may insinuate the Portuguese has done everything in his power to show upper management his anchor, and first-choice centre-back, is worth an equitable deal.
That said, Mourinho has started the process of finding Terry's replacement. The purchase of £12 million French central defender Kurt Zouma from St. Etienne, via BBC Sport, serves as evidence.
The proposition 30-year-olds are somehow beyond the pale is nonsense. Chelsea have won various domestic trophies and the UEFA Champions League with what was considered an "old" squad. Moreover, with the young talent now assembled in Stamford Bridge's dressing room, the Blues need equilibrium.
In a footballing sense, occasionally the guile of a veteran can be more valuable and better crafted than the sprightliness of an upstart. Policy is policy—but at 33, you would think Chelsea's legendary captain has at least 13 months of top-level defending left in him.
Chelsea have endeavoured to keep all "Rio Ferdinand" situations to a minimum, but it would be a shame for a disparaging contract offer to alter Terry's relationship with the club moving forward.
Is Terry the man for the next three years?
Should he be assessing his options away from Stamford Bridge?
Do other players, such as Zouma, Tomas Kalas and Nathan Ake need an opening?
Even still, Chelsea brass should not go around poking bears with sticks. They have found the best defensive amalgamation in the Premier League and should do everything to keep it intact. The 2015-16 campaign should be the season targeted for renovation—not next year.
Hence, after the season Terry has given his club—being perhaps Chelsea's preeminent player—2014-15 should be as it's been the past decade: Terry adjusting his captain's armband, emerging first from the tunnel and playing alongside Chelsea's second-best central-defending option.
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