With John Terry now free and roaming, we ponder the possibility that he heads west and links up with New York City FC.There was breaking news out of Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Chelsea announced that club captain and legend John Terry would be departing after 22 seasons at the club.
Terry, who is 36-years-old, has won 14 major trophies with Chelsea, including the 2012 UEFA Champions League. Terry has made 713 appearances for Chelsea across all competitions, captaining them in 578 of those matches.
Almost immediately after Terry’s announcement, rumors began to circulate about a potential move to MLS. The precedent is there. Terry’s former teammate with the club and/or country, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole, have all moved from the Premier League to MLS.
The consensus from the league at present is that MLS clubs have ‘no interest’ in paying Terry’s wages, per ESPN FC. However, negotiation is always possible as Terry might agree to take a pay cut in search of first team football in the United States.
Should New York City FC take a look at John Terry? They certainly have signed players of his ilk: decorated international superstars who come from European giants with long lists of accolades. David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo all have won the Champions League, and all came over as aging stars looking to prolong their careers. Terry fits a similar mold.
Terry also could fill a position of need. NYCFC conceded the second most goals in MLS last season, and the highest among teams that qualified for the postseason. They were dreadful on set pieces and lacked real leadership and defensive organization.
This season has been significantly better, as the additions of center back Alexander Callens and goalkeeper Sean Johnson have stabilized the defense. NYCFC have conceded five times in six games, and have kept two clean sheets. Additionally, they have not conceded more than twice in a single game.
Terry could further benefit that process. While he lacks the pace to keep up with elite European attackers, the slimmer field dimensions in MLS could mask Terry’s diminishing speed. Additionally, Terry can provide young defenders like Maxime Chanot and Callens mentorship and advice.
John Terry could be a valuable asset both on and off the field, but there are plenty of drawbacks as well.
First of all, his age. Terry likely has 1-2 years left in his career and is clearly on his last legs. Transitioning to a league that stresses free flowing attacks and places little emphasis on defense could prove to be a lot more challenging than Terry might expect.
Additionally, because of his pedigree, Terry would likely feature as a designed player, which is a negative for two reasons. Firstly, NYCFC currently have the maximum number of designated players (three) on the roster: Villa, Pirlo, and Maxi Moralez. Adding Terry would mean displacing one of those three, likely Pirlo, who is clearly a fan favorite in the Bronx.
Secondly, Terry doesn’t fit with the direction of the league. As ESPN FC points out, MLS designated players are trending towards flashy, diminutive playmakers that are young and athletic. Think Moralez with NYCFC, Miguel Almiron with Atlanta, and Sebastian Giovinco with Toronto.
Moralez and Almiron have adjusted well to MLS. Giovinco is arguably the greatest player in league history, and he’s been in MLS just two seasons. In a league that stresses athleticism and attack, Terry’s lack of agility and speed, as well as his position, suggest that he might not be a shrewd signing for the club.
Despite several positives, Terry’s age and position do not fit the mold of the current MLS designated player, and therefore, NYCFC would be smart to stay away from signing the decorated Chelsea legend.