The John Terry transfer saga looks set to rumble on for a little while longer yet as the player ponders his next move after leaving Chelsea. At the moment, it seems to be a two-horse race for his signature between ourselves and bitter rivals Birmingham City.
On avillafan.com we have already looked at why it would be a good idea to see the former Chelsea skipper in a Villa shirt but what about the negatives?
Many Villa supporters are extremely keen for Terry to sign with us. I get why; he’s a big name, he’s won loads, etcetera but for me, that is a very blinkered view and I have major reservations. Whilst I can see potential positives should he join, I can, unfortunately, see outweighing negatives that seriously need to be considered.
There are so many potential pitfalls with the deal that it just doesn’t quite justify being held to ransom and doing everything we possibly can to sign him.
Firstly, let’s get out of the way the fact that off the pitch, Terry seems to be a thoroughly unlikeable character. Controversies involving racism, sleeping with teammates partners and even pre-arranging his own leaving tribute after twenty-six minutes of a match, all paint a picture of a man without morals or shame. That said, if Lionel Messi was willing to join us with the same sort of chequered history, it wouldn’t be a problem. So, I won’t be using that in my argument.
Age is a factor for me. Although I admit, this actually isn’t directly one of my more pressing concerns in terms of ability. Terry is thirty-six and will turn thirty-seven midway through the season in December. His physical capabilities are obviously in decline, yet he has never had great pace to rely on anyway. That said, even in this league, the standard is improving and there are teams now who possess real pace up front that can do damage.
The real issue I have here is that it isn’t ideal to be filling the squad with too many ageing legs. Glenn Whelan at thirty-three years old from Stoke City is another target, whilst Mile Jedinak is not far behind that. Unlike those midfield counterparts who consistently played last season, we actually have little insight in how many games Terry could actually complete for us. Last season he started just six games, with three further appearances from the bench. I’m sure we could we could seek more mileage than that out of him. In a forty-six game season, what would a realistic target be for him? Especially with the quick succession of Saturday and midweek games that crop up so often in this league.
This leads me to my next issue; continuity. If we are buying a player that we know we won’t be able to play every week, that will massively affect the stability of the defence if we have to chop and change to accommodate Terry when he is able to play. As everyone knows, a settled side is usually a more successful side. Say Terry plays between twenty-five and thirty games for us next season, which may even be a generous target. That still leaves a large chunk in which we need to rotate. That isn’t ideal at all.
Similarly, there could be real unrest caused by Terry’s arrival. It is fair to assume that Nathan Baker would be the fall guy to make way for the ex-England international. If that was me, I’d feel pretty hard done by after a season in which I’d just proven myself but that in itself is part of football; you would hope that Baker would respond well to the competition.
I would also imagine that Terry would be made captain, which certainly would be a kick in the teeth for James Chester. On top of all this, the wages that Terry would be on could be a contentious issue in the dressing room and cause problems. It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that there will be a demand in his contract that Terry plays when fit to do so.
All in all, there are several of these niggly little issues that could combine and cause some conflict and derail any harmony within the squad. It would almost be a case of Terry becoming bigger than the club, which is definitely something we shouldn’t entertain.
As I have just briefly touched upon also, the wages are yet another issue. To be frank, the figures quoted are astronomical. Especially for this level. For a club that is perilously close to breaching Financial Fair Play rules, paying someone in the region of £100k a week seems a bit daft. As I explored in my piece last week, Villa will generate around just £6.5 million in prize and television money through the league. It’s barely anything.
Yet we are willing to spend over £5million of that on wages for one player alone. It isn’t a smart move. We have been lumbered with high earners in the past, and whilst this will likely only be a one-year deal, there will undoubtedly be an option for a second year. Is Terry really worth it? We still have high earners on the books such as Micah Richards and Gabriel Agbonlahor. The wage bill must still be a concern. We’re still, even now, trying to get it under control, not escalate it unnecessarily.
Perhaps my biggest issue with the whole saga is this, however; Birmingham City are the only other team that have made an offer and I don’t mean that to sound quite so petty, but that should ring alarm bells.
Plenty of other sides is distancing themselves from the deal. Bournemouth was reportedly interested, yet put off by Terry’s wage demands. Likewise, Swansea have cooled an interest also. These are clubs with money to burn thanks to the enormous television deal in place for Premier League sides and still, they aren’t throwing themselves at Terry’s feet.
The only person to do so is Harry Redknapp; a man who has previous for running teams finances into the ground and then leaving when it all goes down the pan. There is no way that Blues can finance such a deal without implications later down the line. They are putting all their eggs in one basket and hoping that it would reap rewards with a promotion. Whether we like it or not, we’re actually in the same boat as them – the potential penalties for failure are evident.
For me, we are finally getting the club back onto an even keel after years of mismanagement but the deal for Terry doesn’t seem a smart one to me. It is a hit and hopes with potential implications. Chairman Tony Xia’s ambition is commendable, but there are reasons why Birmingham City are the only other team to have made an offer. For what it’s worth, this isn’t a dig at Blues for the sake of it. I just don’t believe they are a club that is well run at the present time, illustrated perfectly by their decision to sack Gary Rowett last season.
Redknapp is likely to have demanded a push for Terry without any thought for the consequences. Other clubs that are savvier and without a manager who threatens to leave if he isn’t given what he wants, will have looked at the deal and not taken it any further. That to me speaks absolute volumes.
In my opinion, the deal for Terry simply isn’t worth it. The wages we would be paying for a player who may only play half of the games just doesn’t add up for me. There is potential friction and unrest on the horizon also. It may be a case of Birmingham City doing us a favour should he join them instead.