Chelsea defender John Terry is reportedly close to agreeing a lucrative move to play in China.
The former England captain, 35, is unlikely to have his contract at Stamford Bridge renewed this summer and has seemingly played his last game for the deposed Premier League champions.
His red card in Saturday’s defeat at Sunderland – his second dismissal of the season – sees him suspended for the club’s final two matches of the campain, away to Liverpool on Tuesday and at home to champions Leicester on Sunday.
The 35-year-old announced in January that he was likely to leave after 18 years at the club, with incoming manager Antonio Conte unlikely to renew his deal.
He had been linked with a move to the US, following in the footsteps of former England colleagues Steven Gerrard, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ashley Cole, but any interest waned over likely pay cuts, with The Sun now reporting the defender is close to agreeing a £500,000-a-week deal with a Chinese Super League side.
He underwent a promotional trip to China last summer, increasing his popularity in the country, and was named an ambassador of football culture by the Guangahou Football Association.
Former Chelsea manager Phil Scolari currently manages Guangzhou Evergrande and could look to link up with his former captain, while former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson is at Shanghai SIPG and is also interested in a move for Terry.
The Chelsea links continue, with Terry’s former colleague Dan Petrescu in charge at Jiangsu Suning and former Blues forward Demba Ba enrolled with Shanghai Shenhua.
Former Chelsea forwards Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka have had spells in China in recent seasons, along with midfielder Ramires.
“If John contacts me, I’d tell him ‘get on the next plane over here – what are you waiting for?” Ba told The Sun last month.
Terry has played over 700 games for Chelsea and has won 78 England caps. He has won four Premier League titles with the Blues, as well as five FA Cups, three League Cups and both the Champions and Europa Leagues.
Clubs in China are backed by the state and encouraged to spend big by president Xi Linping.
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