Chelsea captain John Terry is coming under increasing pressure to secure his future at the club beyond this season, but is time running out?
According to the Daily Mail, both Terry and Branislav Ivanovic are being made to wait on new contracts because boss Jose Mourinho has yet to be convinced by their form so far this season.
The defensive stalwarts have endured a difficult campaign, but it is surprising to see Terry’s fall from grace in particular after such an impressive season last year.
The 34-year-old’s prolonged struggles have included being benched at half-time in the crushing loss at Manchester City, while he was dropped for Wednesday’s Champions League opener against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
However, it was this moment against West Bromwich Albion that arguably raised bigger concerns, with Terry wrong footed, out of position and lacking in pace to make up for his mistake.
Admittedly, Salomon Rondo undoubtedly made the most of the opportunity, but it did highlight an issue with regards to Terry’s natural decline and it has only served to make his position worse.
Since that incident, Terry has lost the faith of Mourinho regardless of the Portuguese tactician’s public comments, and there are no guarantees that the former England captain will feature against Arsenal on Saturday.
If he does play and Arsene Wenger starts Theo Walcott, the situation could get a whole lot worse for the veteran defender if an unfortunate set of circumstances see him put in an uncomfortable position again against a quick attacker.
If he is left on the bench, then more questions will be asked. It is a potentially lose-lose scenario.
That indecision and lack of faith is ultimately going to end up costing Chelsea, unless the centre-half returns to his commanding form at the heart of their defence and ends the debate over whether or not he remains a reliable presence for the reigning Premier League champions.
It is an area of the pitch that Mourinho must feel comfortable with, and given his desire to sign John Stones this summer, as reported by The Mirror, it is clear that he is already thinking beyond Terry and may well have realised that he needs to act sooner rather than later.
Chelsea’s policy of offering 12-month contracts to players over 30 is expected to apply to both Terry and Ivanovic, but as claimed in the same Daily Mail report, Fenerbahce are circling the duo.
As a result, unless there is a dramatic turnaround in which the captain rediscovers his confidence and best form, he could be forced into considering his options at the end of the season.