Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Sport: Roger Alton

Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Sport: Roger Alton

Article excerpt

Just when you were thinking that the Premier League had become a much nicer place without José Mourinho in it, here comes another old friend from Stamford Bridge who can be relied on to pollute the atmosphere. Yes, it's John Terry again, JT, Captain, Leader, Legend, who issued a tear-stained farewell saying Chelsea didn't want him any more (sob ), it couldn't be a fairytale ending (sob ), and he wasn't going to retire at Chelsea (hysterical weeping ). But so loyal was he that he couldn't possibly be going to another Premier League club (stately music and solemn applause ). Oh please, what a load of tosh. This was Terry, in his inimitable way, stitching up his club by bringing pressure to bear for his new contract, which Chelsea have yet to specifically decline and would probably have offered anyway, except now they would have to do so on wildly better terms and under public pressure.

Forget America or the Middle East; personally I think Terry will be off to China. His old team-mate, the 28-year-old Brazilian midfielder Ramires, signed the other day for Jiangsu Suning, which is based in Nanjing and is as ambitious as hell. The fee was £25 -million and he will be on at least £200,000 a week. Terry's old pal Didier Drogba had a contract worth £216,000 a week. The word is that Terry could be clearing around a cool £20 million a year, wherever he ends up. Not bad for the end of your career.

Say what you like about JT, he can see a good deal a mile off. Chinese culture is obsessed with luxury products and world football stars are the ultimate status symbol. It looks like JT, who was always a master of positional play, has positioned himself perfectly for a large slice of the Chinese cake. And he gets to see the pandas too.

Good for Pep Guardiola, off to Manchester City with the most gilded reputation in football coaching. His status and Sheikh Mansour's billions should be enough to coax the best players in the world to the Etihad: 'Taxi to Wilmslow for Mr Messi, please. …

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