John Terry has been a wonderful servant for Chelsea Football Club and will be remembered, in all probability, as the best captain in the west London outfit’s history when he finally leaves Stamford Bridge. But, for the good of the club, manager Jose Mourinho must ensure that this is the 33-year-old’s final season with the Blues.
After moving on Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard earlier this summer, it would have been fitting had Terry joined the veteran duo in departing Chelsea at the same time.
Terry: Superb last season
Mourinho, though, must have felt obliged to offer Terry a new deal after his excellent campaign last season. The former England captain made 34 Premier League appearances, scoring two goals, and thoroughly deserved his one-year contract extension.
But the centre-back’s indian summer will soon come to an end. Age catches up with everyone and the fact there are several talented defenders in the ranks at Stamford Bridge means this has to be Terry’s final season at the club - at least in a playing capacity.
Future Chelsea coach?
On the face of it, Terry appears to possess all of the required qualities to move into coaching, and his vast experience will be hugely beneficial to the next generation of Blues’ stars coming through.
For example, young French centre-back Kurt Zouma will learn an awful lot from playing and training alongside Terry this season. But a centre-back partnership comprised of Zouma and Gary Cahill could be even more formidable than one featuring Zouma and Terry or, indeed, Terry and Cahill.
Zouma and Omeruo the future
If Terry is the past and present of Chelsea then Zouma is most certainly the future. As is the wonderfully talented 20-year-old Kenneth Omeruo, who will spend the 2014/15 campaign on loan with Championship side Middlesbrough but already has 17 international caps for Nigeria to his name.
Omeruo and Zouma will learn an awful lot over the next 12 months and, by the start of the 2015/16 season, might even be ready to become Chelsea’s new first-choice centre-back duo.
Time to say goodbye
Holding back these two qualities future superstars for the sake of prolonging Terry’s career for an extra season simply isn’t worth it - and Mourinho knows this.
The Portuguese coach made two brave but necessary calls to allow Lampard and Cole to leave this summer. And he must do the same with Terry this time next year.
Chelsea fans: when Terry does eventually leave Stamford Bridge, who should be the new captain? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.