John Terry’s Inevitable Move From Chelsea to MLS


Chelsea’s John Terry has a terrific knack for being able to reinvent himself every year into remaining a useful starter. This isn’t the first time fans and pundits have counted him out, but in terms of the Premier League, it will be the last. His chances of remaining with the defending champions after this season are almost zero due to the decline of his game and friction with manager Jose Mourinho. So where will the controversial star end up? MLS, of course.

For those fans who think that Terry might bounce back into the side, the statistical evidence is overwhelming against you. His performance this season has been putrid. On his six appearances in the Premier League, he’s only managed a rating of 6.22. For the sake of comparison, this is worse than striker Falcao who most Chelsea fans are willing to burn in effigy. Yes, it’s true that he’s bounced back from poor stretches before, but it won’t happen this time. It’s never been this bad and he’s never been this old before.

Despite his poor form, there will still be many teams interested in Terry. His lack of athleticism is brutally exposed in the Premier League, but would likely hold up better in a lesser league. He is still very strong in terms of positioning and the mental aspects of the game. His guile will be enough to overcome his declining physical skills in quite a few leagues world-wide. Even though he’ll field interest from larger clubs around the world, Terry will inevitably end up in MLS.

So why MLS? Firstly, because it’s a proven path for stars of Terry’s ilk. The recent additions of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard straight from the Premier League provide him a proven blueprint on what to do. Terry will feel he is at least the caliber of both of those former EPL stars and see a league where he can still be involved at a high level. Make no mistake, John Terry wants to be seen as a football star.

He hasn’t agreed to one year contracts at Chelsea the last few seasons out of club loyalty alone. He’s done so because he enjoys the prestige of being the Chelsea captain. He can’t replicate that in MLS, but he will be one of the league’s luminaries once he makes the move.

Secondly, and much more sensitively, I must point out that John Terry is not going to be a cultural fit in some leagues around the world. We all know about his well publicized racist remarks a few years ago and I can’t see him feeling comfortably in a situation where race is a central issue.

For example, Galatasaray might be interested in Terry, but given the racial sensitivities in Turkey’s political climate it’d be an amazingly bad destination for him. On the other hand, the openness of the culture in the US would provide a more forgiving landing spot.

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It’s not that fans in the United States don’t care about Terry’s racial transgressions, it’s just that as a culture, Americans are used to moving on and providing second chances. In actuality, Terry’s past incidents are so well-known in the United States that soccer fans there have already moved past them. I’m not sure the same can be said in more conservative nations.

In sum, fear not John Terry fans. Your beloved centre back will find his way into a lineup every week next year. Only it won’t be in the vaunted Premier League, instead he’ll be the latest in a line of aging stars headed to MLS for the twilight of their careers.