Aston Villa’s Remarkable John Terry Transfer: An enticing gamble loaded with risk & intent.

After many years following the Villa, like many, I’ve learned to keep quiet on transfers until they’re completed.

Whilst John Terry’s arrival at Villa Park has been an inevitability in recent days, the defenders high profile and Villa’s ability to muck-up deals encourages restraint.

So after all of the rumour, counter offers & endless debate: John Terry has finally been unveiled as a Villa player.

The capture of Terry on a free transfer from Chelsea is remarkable.

Remarkable because Terry has, unlike many of his peers, snubbed a significantly higher final pay-day overseas in favour of one final crack at truly competitive football.

Sure, Terry is already an incredibly wealthy man [who stands to become wealthier]; but so were Beckham, Gerrard & Lampard before instead opting to join the MLS or others.

Few fans though, can be blamed for giving the matter of a “reduced wage” much consideration.  Terry will earn at least £60,000 a week for the next season at Villa Park.  That’s somewhere in the region of £4 million a year, which includes undisclosed “incentive” clauses.  One would imagine that a promotion bonus sits princely amongst said clauses.

There are two encouraging factors to keep firmly in our minds [before we consider the risks].

The first huge win is that Terry offers a partnership for James Chester to relish.

Chester was a standout figure in a Villa team which lacked assured quality throughout 2016/17.

The Welsh international is a consistent 7/10 performer at Villa, who can hopefully develop alongside the former England player to become the complete centre half.

It can only be a positive that Bruce has recruited in this area, having previously been a major piece in a bigger jigsaw puzzle ahead of the new season.

Let’s not forget that in the past season we’ve witnessed Tommy Elphick struggle badly, Micah Richards barely warranting consideration & the fact that Jedinak was preferred on occasion spoke volumes.

Terry, despite his age and the limitations that come with being 36 [pace], he improves Aston Villa.

A career laden with individual and team honours brings unquestionable experience, renowned leadership qualities and the nous of a proven winner.

These attributes could stand to be priceless assets at a football club bereft of individuals who not only consider winning the norm, but that anything less than this being abject failure.  Simply put, Terry is not accustomed to losing, nor losing lying down.

The second is the fact that Villa have pulled off a major coup.

The signing is as much a psychological boost as it is a reminder that Aston Villa can still command the ability to attract big names.

Whilst certainly a listless vessel for too many years, the history books and trophy cabinet do not lie.  With the right management and the intent, this football club has limitless potential.  A fallen giant maybe, but a giant, nonetheless.

Whilst I imagine that Terry’s contract offers were a mix of wealthy global clubs looking to lure a “name”, there will surely have been enticing deals from around the best leagues in Europe as well.

The fact that Villa have convinced Terry that dropping down to The Championship, in arguably our most important season in a generation, is greatly encouraging.

It is also to Xia’s credit that he mercilessly seeks to raise the clubs profile – and more likely to Bruce – who has been relentlessly courting Terry since the close season.  It’s not always ‘what you know’, as they say.

And finally, irrelevant of what anyone thinks of the signing, it has turned heads across the footballing world & put Aston Villa front and centre with it.

Villa have struggled with brand image and negative public relations in recent years.  This change of tact has to be welcomed.

This is a gamble.  And there are also risks.

The exorbitant wage demands re-focus the lingering worry about Villa’s position in respect of Financial Fair Play rules.  This is a genuine concern if the club fails in its bid for promotion, with income set to drop sharply as parachute payments tail off next season.

It’s rarely fashionable to be a prophet of doom, particularly with the relentless PR machine of positivity [even in the face of adversity] which oozes from the owner.

Remaining positive is a good thing when you’re a Villa fan, but on the subject of money, we cannot afford to be too careful.  We simply cannot permit ourselves to fall foul of destroying the financial stability of the football club.

It’s my prediction that Terry’s arrival signals a singular moment of transfer jubilance this summer, amidst what can hereafter only be a period of restraint financially.  Indeed, expect to see Villa clear anyone deemed peripheral in order to redress the balance for FFP purposes.  Such a clear-out may reasonably see more ‘popular’ figures futures be up for discussion.

No easy task considering some of the contracts dished out under the Lerner/Fox/Reilly ‘moneyball’ era or the costly errors of Di Matteo.

The other concern is that JT arrives with a long list of misdemeanours to his name.  In all honesty, this is the “uncomfortable truth”, “the elephant in the room”….etc.  It was also no surprise that there was collective amnesia from media with access to cover the story at Villa Park today on this topic.

Indeed there have been a number of unsavoury issues in relation to Terry’s conduct both on and off the field [these are covered off in the upcoming podcast].  I suppose it depends where you sit on such things, but the topics, the breadth of ill-discipline and sometimes wide-ranging repercussions are difficult to overlook.

In short: Terry’s footballing achievements are outstanding, but his character should certainly provide pause for thought.

It’s therefore quite bizarre, and so typical of Villa, that this could be one of the football clubs greatest gambles of it’s modern era.

If Bruce & Xia can keep Terry fit, in form & off the front pages it’s an undeniable masterstroke.

Anything contrary to this, may quickly polarise both supporter opinion & the clubs fortunes in quite a different and unenviable direction.

…promotion can be the only satisfactory outcome for all concerned.

KEY FACTS:

  • Terry joins from Chelsea on a Free Transfer.
  • Contracted until June 2018.
  • £60,000 per week “incentive based contract”.
  • Age: 36
  • 78 England Caps.
  • 22 Seasons / 717 games for Chelsea.
  • Takes number 26 shirt from Kodjia.

IN QUOTES

Terry:

 “I am delighted to be here as a player.

It is obviously a huge club, I had a few conversations with Steve Bruce over the summer.

I am very hungry to still play at the top with a club and a manager who still has the same ambition as me.

I think the club speaks for itself, from being out there in the stadium. They have got great support here, I think it is a club that deserves to be in the Premier League.

Steve being Steve has persuaded me to come, and I am delighted because I still wanted to keep my playing, my hunger is still there at 36.

The ambition for me to continue playing some people will understand and some people will not.

I am in good physical condition.

I am ready to play and give it everything this year. I am here, I am ready to fight for the Villa shirt and for this football club.”

 

Steve Bruce:

“He is worth every penny because we know what he brings.

It is not often that you get a natural leader of men these days.

I have watched him from afar for a long, long time and to get him here is a great coup for all of us.”

Quotes: Guardian Online

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