Aston Villa announced on Monday that the club has signed 36-year-old veteran defender John Terry to a one-year deal after the center back left Chelsea.
Terry spent 19 years with Chelsea, with a brief loan to Nottingham Forest during the 1999-2000 campaign being the only time the hard-nosed defender had sported a shirt other than the blue of Chelsea. He will now try to help Aston Villa get back to the Premier League after a disappointing first season in the Championship this past season, where the team finished 13th with 62 points in 46 games.
Terry had offers on the table to stay in the Premier League, but he reportedly didn’t want to play against his former team. Should Terry be part of bringing Villa back to the Premier League, he can earn up to £4 million, which would be one of the most lucrative deals in Championship history.
“I am delighted to join Aston Villa,” Terry told the club’s website.
“It’s a club I have admired from afar for many years – there are fantastic facilities at Bodymoor Heath, Villa Park is one of the finest stadiums in the country and there’s a good group of players here, with an experienced and successful manager in Steve Bruce.
“I can’t wait to get started now and look to help the squad achieve something special this season.”
Terry brings a lot of experience with him, having won five Premier League trophies, one Champions League title and five FA Cup titles during his time at Chelsea, and the hope must be that he can share his knowledge with the younger players on the squad. Villa is rebuilding after crashing out of the Premier League in 2015-16.
The team struggled last season on both ends of the field, and Terry could bring some stability to the back. He has lost a couple of steps, but if he’s put next to a speedy player in a back four, then he should be able to do a good job at the Championship level. It was clear last season that he’s not good enough to play in the Premier League, but at 36, no one could really blame him for looking a bit out of place.
Terry’s obvious love for the game, coupled with a nice payday, makes him return to the pitch for at least another season. It will be strange to see him in a different jersey, and it will take some time to get used to seeing the Chelsea lineup without Terry. But it was clear he wasn’t going to get many minutes if he stayed at Chelsea, and with Villa he gets to play in a big role for a team looking to win promotion.
The fact that he was reluctant to play against Chelsea surely played a big part in his choice of Villa, but it was also the one team where he would be given the biggest role and more or less a guaranteed spot in the starting lineup. Should Aston Villa and Chelsea meet up in the FA Cup or the League Cup, we’ll see if Terry plays, but I’m sure the Chelsea fans would welcome him back to Stamford Bridge with a standing ovation.