Conte Keen On Keeping Terry At Stamford Bridge

by Andy Dillon / 13 May 2016, 10:04

Resident columnist Andy Dillon (@andydillon70) of the Sun looks at Chelsea's potential U-Turn if offering John Terry a contract extension at the end of the season...

Antonio ConteANTONIO CONTE must be a very worried man.

Certainly so if he pulls off a spectacular U-turn and decides to give Chelsea captain John Terry a new one year deal.

In April, Italy boss Conte was officially confirmed as the incoming new gaffer at Stamford Bridge charged with the task of refloating the crippled ship.

But we all know the talks were going on long before the announcement was made public. Conte has been pulling the strings for some time.

Back in January Terry had to draw breath for strength before telling me that he was being cut adrift by the club he had served for 21 years.

Everyone who heard the news that day pointed to the hand of Conte starting work early and getting the awkward stuff done swiftly to move on an ageing warrior - thank you very much but it's time to say goodbye.

Everyone who heard the news that day thought like me it was a totally daft decision. When you see John Terry in a match his leadership and bravery are blatantly obvious.

When you see him at Chelsea's training ground and hear about what he does for people out of the spotlight his value to the club goes beyond any price tag.

He pays for the youth team's haircuts at the local barber, he is always ready to put his hand in his pocket to help the supporters' club, he has a genuine affection for fans who are battling illness or struggling to cope with life.

Conte remains in charge of the 'Azzurri' until after Euro 2016 but in recent weeks has been sizing up his new role by meeting the Chelsea players at the five star training complex in Surrey which will be his main place of business.

Since those first chats with the squad we now hear that Chelsea may be having a change of heart, that JT could yet be offered a one year contract albeit on reduced money from his current £150,000 a week.

The club have even scrapped a scheduled farewell tribute to him at tonight's End of Season Awards do we are told in a significant last minute shift in policy.

If true, the only possible conclusion is that Conte has given the rest of the squad the once-over and is a bit concerned by what he has found.

That nobody in the Chelsea squad is anywhere near being able to replace what captain John Terry offers them even at 35 and a half years old.

Chelsea are pushing ahead with plans for another pop at signing Everton's John Stones this summer; the ball playing centre half compared to Franz Beckenbauer not so long ago but now winding up what has been a dreadful season for one of our great young hopefuls.

Looking around Chelsea Conte has found plenty of pace in Willian, dazzling dribbling in Eden Hazard, a classy goalkeeper in the temperamental Thibaut Courtois, gusto and strength in Gary Cahill and the injured Kurt Zouma.

But rummaging around in the dressing room he hasn't been able to find a player who can take the squad by the scruff of the neck and get them over the line like an army drill-sergeant.

Conte is regarded as an uncompromising, sometimes spiky and stubborn individual who will ruffle feathers to get what he wants.

He may well have done it already by getting the board of Chelsea FC to perform an embarrassing 180 degree turn to keep Terry on the payroll just when they were looking to channel his wages in a different direction.

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