Speaking to the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast on talkSPORT, Clarke commented on Terry’s recent claims that he will not be signing an extension with the Blues and is hopeful another year can be agreed before the captain walks away when his deal expires at the end of the season:
It’s a strange one. I think John is playing a little game of poker with the club.
He’s trying to force another deal for himself.
I was at the game against Manchester United last week and John still looks very comfortable.
He still looks as though he can do a good job for the club and hopefully they can come to a sensible agreement which means John can get at least one more season at Chelsea.
It’s a peculiar situation. Terry suggested after the FA Cup clash with MK Dons recently that he would be leaving, but in a follow-up statement from the champions, it was claimed “the club will keep the channels of dialogue open,” per Dominic Fifield of the Guardian.
As we can see here courtesy of Sky Sports Statto, the Blues have been much better off with Terry in the team down the years:
This is the impact John Terry has had on Chelsea since his PL debut 17 years ago pic.twitter.com/IC1mP6UAGa— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 7, 2016
The defender can still do a fine job, too. Despite being in the twilight of his distinguished career, the 35-year-old can command the back four brilliantly, dominate in the air and put in thunderous tackles. The dynamism may no longer be there, but he’s still a critical cog in the Chelsea team when they’re playing well.
Despite claims to the contrary from both sides, it seems as though wires have been crossed somewhere. The club will want Terry to stick around because of his leadership skills and influence at Stamford Bridge, while the player himself will surely be keen to sample another season at the highest level.
As noted by Joe Prince-Wright of NBC Sports, the club’s fanbase have also made their own feelings known on the matter:
John Terry gets a huge round of applause & cheers as his name is read out at Stamford Bridge. Safe to say fans want him to stay. #CFC— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) February 7, 2016
It seems as though Terry is trying to force Chelsea’s hand, and the club, with no manager named for next season, may be holding back on offering a new contract before they find their man. Of course, the captain would be brilliant to have around for another season yet, but it’s vital the Blues also begin looking to the future, when they’ll be without their talismanic defender.
Dimitri Payet Contract Close, Says Slaven Bilic
According to West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic Dimitri Payet is close to agreeing a new contract with the club amid rumours of interest from Chelsea.
As reported by Uche Amako of the Daily Express, the France international midfielder has been linked with a move to the Blues and Arsenal after a brilliant beginning to life in the Premier League. But Bilic insisted the club’s supporters have little to worry about.
"I think we are very close to Dimitri signing a new contract,” said the former Croatia boss, per Amako. ”Both parties have the same intention and that is to stay at West Ham.”
The fact a new contract is being discussed would seem to suggest there is some concern about the 28-year-old sticking around in east London. It’s a boost you’d say he deserves, though, as Payet has lit up the Premier League since signing from Marseille in the summer.
Sky Sports News HQ outlines just how inspirational the playmaker has been for West Ham so far this season:
Would Payet be a good signing for Chelsea?
Chelsea already have a collection of intricate attacking midfielders, including Oscar, Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Willian and Pedro. It’d make the pursuit of Payet more of an indulgence than a necessary capture.
Nevertheless, it’d be a surprise to see the player leave West Ham so soon. The club are moving into the Olympic Stadium next season and are enjoying a wonderful campaign. With Chelsea toiling, the Hammers look as though they may even be better placed to fulfil any short-term ambitions Payet has.