Officials in the swanky boardrooms of Stamford Bridge have been left bemused by John Terry's decision to announce his departure from Chelsea at the end of the season.
According to the Telegraph, Chelsea made it clear to Terry and his agent, Paul Nicholls, that they would not be able to offer him a new contract until they hired a long-term manager.
Terry, 35, had pushed for a meeting with Chelsea over a new contract last month, sending his agent for talks with the powers that be in west London to determine whether or not they were ready to offer him a new deal.
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Originally, they said there had been no decision, but Nicholls would not leave without a firm answer so Chelsea were forced to tell him that they were not prepared to extend his contract at this time.
But, far from giving him the definitive answer he wanted, they instead insisted that the club captain would have to wait for the new manager to decide his fate. With Guus Hiddink in charge until the end of the season, it could leave Terry waiting for an answer with just days left on his deal.
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Terry, obviously, is not willing to do that. He took the refusal to extend his contract as gospel and confirmed his likely departure after a 21-year stay on Sunday evening.
And Chelsea officials are shocked.
Apparently, Terry has been notified of the decision on his future in January in each of the last two years. In 2014, he did not sign a one-year deal until May, but he was at least told that it was in the offing. The next year, it was signed in March, but, again, he had already been told that he was wanted for the next campaign.
Of course, Jose Mourinho was in charge on both occasions and had the power to sanction the extensions. Club policy dictates that managers must sign off on all decisions regarding player contract and signings. Hiddink, an interim manager, does not have that power.
So, it seems that Chelsea are still open to the idea of keeping Terry and the current situation has come as a result of the player handing them an ultimatum that they could not accept. As a man used to getting what he wants, there seems to be a suggestion that Terry is throwing the toys out of his pram.
There are sure to be plenty more twists and turns in this tale before his contract finally does expire.
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