Chelsea scouts are wasting their time searching for John Terry's successor. The Stamford Bridge skipper still has many more years ahead of him as a mainstay at the heart of the west London club's defence.
Jose Mourinho confirmed in today's pre-West Ham press conference the news that everyone who knows anything about football will have already anticipated; the Blues captain WILL be offered a new contract upon the expiry of his current deal this summer.
As is commonplace with all players over the age of 30, the former England international will only be afforded a rolling 12-month agreement. However, if senior chiefs were prepared to break policy and offer Terry a longer-term deal then they could conceivably hand him three or four more years safe in the knowledge it would be a sound investment.
Article continues below
The reason being that the 34-year-old centre-back has shown no signs of slowing down so far, and following the return of the Portuguese tactician seems to have rediscovered his very best form.
After all, age is just a number, as proved by celebrated veterans like Paolo Maldini; the Italian football legend who continued plying his trade at the top level with AC Milan until he turned 40.
Article continues below
Comparisons between Terry and 'Il Capitano' are obvious to make. Both players are cult heroes held in the highest regard by supporters that take satisfaction in the respective contributions made by the one-club men over many years.
Maldini holds the record for most appearances (647) in Serie A and in UEFA Club competitions (174). He is also the record appearance holder for Milan, with 902 caps in all competitions.
Terry is not quite there yet, but is by far and away the longest-serving player in Mourinho's current squad with more than 550 appearances, and the only player in the senior fold to come from the club's academy since signing professional terms in 1998.
"I can guarantee he will be a Chelsea player next season," explained Mourinho on Tuesday, less than 48 hours after Terry had scored the opening goal in his side's 2-0 success over Tottenham Hotspur in the Capital One Cup final. "No doubts he's going to get his contract."
The Wembley win represented Terry's third League Cup triumph and 13th major trophy in what has been an illustrious career that is certainly not over yet. In fact, the Blues still hold aspirations of winning an unprecedented treble in 2014/15 with the Premier League title and Champions League crown in sight.
"If this is my last year, then I hope it goes out on a bang," reflected Terry after Sunday's victory. "But I am feeling great at the minute and it would be the wrong time to go.
"I have my little target to play next year, but, beyond that, two or three years, I don't know."
Terry captained Chelsea to two Premier League titles in Mourinho's first spell at Stamford Bridge, but fell out of favour under interim boss Rafael Benitez during an injury-troubled 2012/13 campaign.
However, last season he was a virtual ever-present after 'The Special One' left Real Madrid to return to Stamford Bridge, and Terry has retained his starting spot in the side in 2014/15 as well, even after the summer arrival of impressive youngster Kurt Zouma.
He'll be expected to keep his place for Wednesday's trip to Upton Park where Chelsea will be looking to maintain their five-point lead at the top of the table over reigning champions Manchester City.
They also boast a one-game advantage over Manuel Pellegrini's men so the title is very much the Blues' to lose with just 12 games left to play between now and May 24.
Terry's focus will undoubtedly be on the collective goal even while his 'uncertain' situation remains. Of course, he didn't sign his current deal until 48 hours after the end of last season, and he'll be hoping his next renewal will come off the back of securing his and Chelsea's fourth Premier League crown in 2015. It's unlikely to be his last one, either.
Chelsea fans: How many more years do you think John Terry can keep on playing at Stamford Bridge? Share your thoughts below...
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms