Aston Villa defender John Terry will go to great lengths to avoid facing Chelsea next season.
Reports on Friday morning have suggested that the 37-year-old former Blues captain is prepared to sign a new deal to extend his stay at Villa Park – but it seems likely that an agreement by which he could miss games against his old club would be part of it.
Terry turned down Premier League offers last summer as he didn’t want to face Chelsea competitively, having made over 700 appearances for the side over an 18-year professional spell in West London.
Villa are prepared to work with Terry’s request such is his importance to the team, with manager Steve Bruce quoted as saying he hopes that the centre-back will agree fresh terms with his team:
“Well, we’ll not pick him against Chelsea if that’s what he wants. I really genuinely hope he triggers it. All those phone calls to him, he hasn’t been disappointed with it. You can’t be disappointed when you walk through here.”
Terry has been one of the standout defenders in the Championship this season, starting 32 league games and forming an effective partnership with Welsh international James Chester at the back.
Of course, all of this will be moot should Villa fail to defeat Fulham in the Championship playoff at Wembley on Saturday. Bruce’s side will be itching to return to the Premier League after a two-year absence but Fulham will be desperate to go up themselves, having come agonisingly close to achieving automatic promotion.