When John Terry was substituted at half-time during Chelsea’s 0-3 defeat to Manchester City, it was the first time in 177 Premier League games that he had been taken off by Blues boss Jose Mourinho.
The manager stated in his post-match interview that he removed Terry due to his lack of speed, which was allowing the City attack to run rings around him. Although, many believed that Mourinho’s decision to substitute the captain was a sly attempt to draw attention to the fact that he needs defensive reinforcements.
Speaking on Sky Sports following the match, former-Liverpool and Newcastle manager Graeme Souness said, “I think the manager is trying to make a statement to the owner that ‘I need more players.”
To further destabilise Terry’s precarious position at Chelsea, he was sent off during Sunday’s fixture against West Bromwich Albion. The defender was given his marching orders by referee Mark Clattenburg after pulling back West Brom debutant Salomon Rondon. Mourinho has already stated that he is not going to appeal the decision, which means that Terry will miss next weekend’s fixture against Crystal Palace.
For a long time, Terry has been a mainstay in the Chelsea first-team, and he was always one of the first names on the team sheet each week, but following lacklustre performances over the last few weeks, things could change at Chelsea pretty quickly, and Terry’s time at Stamford Bridge could come to an end sooner rather than later.
Mourinho has tabled three bids for Everton’s John Stones over the last month, all of which have been rejected by the Toffees. If the Blues boss can get his way, and Everton agree to sell Stones, then Terry could see his place in the starting eleven challenged. There is already stiff competition for the two centre-back spots, with Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma proving to be worthy contenders for a starting spot, and Stones will only complicate the matter.
Although, Chelsea have been leaking goals like a sieve throughout the early stages of the new Premier League campaign, having failed to keep a clean sheet in their first three. It will be interesting to see whether The Blues perform better defensively next week with Terry missing through suspension, and if results do pick up without him in the side, Mourinho will have a very tough decision to make.
Terry’s Chelsea contract expires at the end of the season, and the Blues are actively pursuing Everton’s John Stones or Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane as a long-term heir to the 34-year-old defensive stalwart. Both of these players are already good enough to push for a place in the Chelsea first-team, and they could end up replacing the Chelsea captain a lot sooner than expected.
Terry has done little to prove that he still has the legs to keep up at the top level over the last few weeks, and a late move in the transfer market might prove to be the last nail in the skipper’s coffin.