LONDON • Chelsea captain John Terry signed a new one-year contract with the English Premier League club yesterday to end speculation that he would be forced out of Stamford Bridge.
He sparked fears that he was on the verge of leaving the Blues against his will when he claimed in January he had not been offered an extension to his contract, which was due to expire in June.
With Italy coach Antonio Conte due to take charge at Stamford Bridge once his Euro 2016 commitments are over, it had been reported that Terry could be eased out by the new boss.
But the 35-year-old former England defender was offered the new deal last week and, after speaking to Conte and Blues owner Roman Abramovich, he agreed to extend his 21-year stay with Chelsea by at least another season.
"I am delighted to sign a new contract with the club. Everyone knows I'm Chelsea through and through," Terry told Chelsea's website.
"I am looking forward to next season under the new manager and hopefully we can make it a successful one.
"Also, a special mention to the fans for their continued support. You're the best in the world."
Terry, who missed the last two games of the season following his red card at Sunderland, gave an emotional post-match speech to Chelsea fans on the pitch following Sunday's match against Leicester.
But when the centre-back cancelled a party due to be held at Stamford Bridge on Monday as part of his presumed farewell, it was clear he was set to stay after all.
Terry opted to remain with Chelsea after reportedly considering offers from Chinese clubs Shanghai and Jiangsu Suning, with both said to be offering lucrative two-year contracts.
"We are delighted John will spend another year at the club," Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said.
"He has been the leader of the Chelsea squad throughout the most successful period in our history.
"He recently reached the 700-appearance mark, which is testament to his professionalism and dedication as well as his undoubted talent."
The Blues are also celebrating a massive £60 million (S$120 million)-a-year kit deal with Nike, despite not qualifying for the Champions League or even the Europa League next season. The additional funds will no doubt be a boost to the club in the transfer market.
It is understood that the Nike contract is twice that of their current £30 million-a-year sponsorship deal with adidas, which will end next term.
However, Chelsea will have to pay the German sportswear giant £40 million in compensation as their deal does not end until six years later.
The kit deal with Nike is the second-most expensive in Europe, with Manchester United topping the list - £75 million a year with adidas.
Conte has said that he wants to sign at least three players when he takes over the reins, aiming to help Chelsea return to the Champions League as soon as possible.