Hiddink defends Blues' treatment of Terry

John Terry will be out of contract at the end of the season and Chelsea have shown no sign of offering the club legend a new deal at Stamford Bridge.
John Terry will be out of contract at the end of the season and Chelsea have shown no sign of offering the club legend a new deal at Stamford Bridge. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Guus Hiddink has defended the Chelsea hierarchy's failure to clarify John Terry's future at Stamford Bridge, with the club captain expecting to bid his own farewell to a disgruntled home support after Sunday's Premier League game against Leicester City.

Terry's dismissal in stoppage time against Sunderland last weekend means he will sit out the visit of the champions on the final day.

The defender is resigned to possibly having made his last appearance for the club after 18 years and 703 games.

Some figures at the club are keen to make a public announcement on the centre-half's future before the last fixture of the season, rather than wait until June - traditionally when confirmation is delivered over the release of players such as Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Ashley Cole - to ensure he is granted a proper send-off.

However, as it stands, the home support will not know for sure whether the 35-year-old is to be retained when he joins his club-mates for the post-match lap of appreciation.

Hiddink has suggested the delay in an announcement was down only to those behind the scenes wanting "to take their time" before determining whether the offer of a one-year contract would be forthcoming.

"The people who are making the decisions want to take their time," the interim coach said. "That's up to them. That doesn't mean there's been dramatic, bad treatment so far... It's the same as Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard.

"But there is a strategy... It's up to the club. It's not up to me."

There appears to be a reluctance on all sides to make the first public move confirming Terry is to sever ties with the club he joined at the age of 14.

The player has been offered lucrative deals by clubs in China, believed to be Shanghai SIPG and Jiangsu Suning, and would be free to pursue that move when his contract expires on June 30.

Suggestions have emerged in Italy that the new Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, would rather the board instigate the parting of ways, though the club have been adamant the final decision will be made by the man who takes up the reins after Euro 2016.

Hiddink believes Terry can still compete at the top level in England but is unlikely to contemplate life at a top-flight rival.

Said the Dutchman: "He will follow his heart, I think... he will not easily go to another Premier League club."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2016, with the headline 'Hiddink defends Blues' treatment of Terry'. Print Edition | Subscribe